Thinking about Dumbledore

As you recall, people cheered wildly at Rowling’s announcement that Dumbledore is gay, and many in the media have been thrilled.  Certainly Dumbledore is one of the best and most honorable characters in the Harry Potter series.  But think about it:  Dumbledore’s first and only love was a murderous psychopath (clearly meant to remind readers of Hitler).  Even Rowling conceded that this love was disastrous:

She was asked by one young fan whether Dumbledore finds “true love.”

“Dumbledore is gay,” the author responded to gasps and applause.

She then explained that Dumbledore was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, whom he defeated long ago in a battle between good and bad wizards. “Falling in love can blind us to an extent,” Rowling said of Dumbledore’s feelings, adding that Dumbledore was “horribly, terribly let down.”

Dumbledore’s love, she observed, was his “great tragedy.”

After this tragic relationship, which took place when he was a teenager, Dumbledore apparently retreated forever from any other romantic relationships, gay or straight, devoting himself instead to a celibate life.

So should gays really be celebrating this revelation?  It seems to me as if Rowling is saying that, while homosexuals can quite obviously be loving, brilliant, powerful, honorable and brave, their sexuality can blind them and celibacy is the better option.  That seems to be strictly in keeping with the religious doctrine that says that, while gays can’t help being gay, they shouldn’t act on it.  (I actually find this view troubling, since sexuality is such an integral part of the human condition.  I just like bedroom conduct kept in the bedroom, and off the streets and out of politics.)

In any event, if I’m right about the conclusions you have to draw from Rowling’s writing, I doubt that what she’s saying is something gay rights activists really want to support.