If you haven’t seen it already, the gist is this: Dumbledore won’t be explicitly gay in Fantastic Beasts 2. Many people on the internet responded with “But, if you never actually show that he’s gay in the work, is he really gay?” Then Rowling and the director made noises about criticizing something that isn’t already out yet.
In short, people on both sides are, at the least, frustrated.
Also – getting out in front of one aspect of it: if a writer or anyone makes things you don’t like, you can write thoughtful critiques about it (like this), you can refuse to buy it, and so on. It is never acceptable to send threats or other abuse. That’s disgusting and doesn’t accomplish anything.
Being sent abuse about an interview that didn’t involve me, about a screenplay I wrote but which none of the angry people have read, which is part of a five-movie series that’s only one instalment in, is obviously tons of fun, but you know what’s even *more* fun? pic.twitter.com/Rj6Zr8aKUk
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) January 31, 2018
I’m writing this without fully knowing where I’m going to end up with this one. I’m very torn on it. I’m a writer, and I like being able to tell whatever stories that I want to. We tend to be big-headed and stubborn that way. I also kind of get the feeling of creatives being frustrated by people criticizing something that doesn’t even really exist yet. That’s got to be frustrating. I get that.
But, and this has got to be the biggest but of the history of this podcast, there’s more to it than that. Rowling is the one who came out afterwards and told us that Dumbledore was gay, the lack of anything in the narrative notwithstanding. Then she got to celebrate, and have her little inclusivity cookie. People seem to think that this is sufficient, and I’m not so sure.
Now, critics of this point of view are going to point out that we don’t know the sexual orientation of so many other characters. That we assume they’re straight. That’s true, we do assume that. Because it’s the most common, it is the norm in fiction. Most characters are straight. Seeing a character who isn’t within the media makes the rest of us feel like we aren’t so different. There are all sorts of reasons that inclusion of LGBT characters is already important in our fiction, but I’m going to leave that to important characters beyond us.
Rowling is the one that said that Dumbledore and our antagonist for the new movies were in love. The canon, as we’ve been asked to accept it, is that these two characters were incredibly important to each other. And now, instead of grappling with that, it isn’t going to be made explicit. This is going out of one’s way to take out something that she publicized and made part of the canon. It feels, to me, a great deal like doing something good to get a cookie, then being frustrated when you undo the good you did, and people suddenly want their cookie back.
It would suck if there was just no lgbtq rep in the books and that was the end of it. But her saying Hogwarts Gandalf was absolutely gay, then dodging it deliberately, that is a different level of stink.
— GAIL SIMONE (@GailSimone) February 1, 2018
Like she said; this is a five-part series though. Sure, it’s possible that this series pulls out of the funk regarding this particular point and surprises us. I’m just not going to hold my breath.