Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is shaping up to be a problematic franchise. First, it cast Johnny Depp in a leading role, despite his abuse of Amber Heard. Now, David Yates, the director, has decided to ignore Dumbledore’s sexuality.
In 2007, J.K. Rowling announced that she had “always thought of Dumbledore as gay.”
In the same speech, she also said, “Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was. To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more, because falling in love can blind us to an extent?”
Personally, I have mixed feelings about this announcement. I am always happy to see queer characters, but one character’s sexuality does not make up for the appalling lack of representation in the books and movies. Come on — you’re telling me that out of the hundreds of teenage students at Hogwarts, not one was even bi-curious? Telling us that Dumbledore was gay is a start, but it’s not nearly enough.
With Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, J.K. Rowling and director David Yates had the opportunity to change this legacy, but they chose not to.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Yates was asked how Dumbledore’s sexuality would be handled in the films. He answered:
“Not explicitly — but I think all the fans are aware of that. He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men. They fell in love with each other’s ideas, ideology and each other.”
Some people are arguing that explicit acknowledgment of Dumbledore’s homosexuality will turn Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald into the “gay wizard movie.”
But here’s the thing: you can have gay characters without making their entire storyline revolve around being gay.
In fact, that’s a big part of representation. LGBTQ+ representation isn’t just about coming out with more gay romance movies. It’s also about having “normal” characters be queer. Dumbledore’s character is the perfect opportunity for this.
Give us a three-dimensional gay character who is so much more than the token diversity character. Give us a gay character whose primary storyline deals with magic, morality, and friendship. Give us a gay character that we know ends up respected and successful. Give us a gay character that kids can look up to. Give us gay character who is more than just gay.