It was no surprise to this reporter, writes Rita Skeeter, Special Correspondent for the Daily Prophet, when the Muggle known as J.K. Rowling ’outed’ eccentric Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore. It was an open secret for years to those of us in the know, of course, but our hands were tied – at times literally – by the Ministry of Magic, and this could not be revealed. A sharp-eyed reader, however, had only to observe his adoration of Gellert Grindelwald, as well as a significant fondness for sherbet lemons, to know this to be true. When the chemically-treated blonde Rowling, “official” biographer to Dumbledore, revealed this fact there was a prolonged ovation. She responded, “If I had known this would have made you this happy, I would have announced it years ago”.
When this humble reporter was approached by the largely unknown Muggle publication Polari Magazine to nominate a hero for LGBT History Month she was, of course, honoured. There was no other name she could think of in the Magical World that would do. No other name at all. And why? In the rather clumsy words of Rowling, Dumbledore “is the epitome of goodness.” Dumbledore, like all great men, looked into darkness and was tempted by its heady power, but he did not follow the path of Grindelwald or You-Know-Who. He instead turned to good. His wisdom and foresight were instrumental in the defeat of He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named.
Nevertheless, New York Times columnist Edward Rothstein wrote, “Ms. Rowling may think of Dumbledore as gay,” but sniped, “there is no reason why anyone else should”. This reporter for one can not work out what this means, and so has put it down to muddle-headed journalism.
Other unhinged individuals in the Muggle world have suggested that it is not appropriate for children to be taught by anyone gay. But a teacher’s sexuality is irrelevant to the everyday life of schooling. It is their ability to teach that is of concern. Those who think otherwise reveal no other fault than that of their own twisted imaginations. For such misguided people this reporter would recommend a trip to St Mungo’s for a spell.
In an ideal world, Dumbledore’s sexuality would be treated as a fact, and have nothing to do with the price of Puffskeins. But we do not live in an ideal world, as some of the Warner Brothers bio-pic casting decisions over the years have shown to be alarmingly true. Dumbledore was a great man, a role model. And that is all that matters. If this has eased the mind of just one of Rowling’s great many readers, or made one bully question their stand on homosexuality, then that is indeed magical.
Copies of my book: The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore (with additional ‘Regret the Error’ section) is available from Flourish and Blotts.