Friday, October 26, 2007

Out of the Closet - Harry Potter revelation

Last Friday, J.K. Rowlings announced that the character of Albus Dumbledore from her beloved Harry Potter series of books was in fact gay. She said that it was something, as a writer, she decided about the character from the very start - even before the first book ever got published - though she would pepper only slight clues through out the books to this fact. Based on the hub-bub on the Internet and in the media after the announcement, this fact wasn't quite as obvious to her readers as she might have thought.

I don't at all find this surprising - the fact that not everyone picked up on it. I know I didn't catch it when I read the books over a marathon session over the summer and I'm a grown adult who should be able to read between the lines. Maybe, as a writer, Rowlings should have been a tad less subtle on things - especially in her seventh book where Dumbledore's youthful "great tragedy", as she put it, plays such a key role in the many revelations between what the students know and what is the truth about their headmaster.

Sometimes the signs are there and we don't always see them. In both high school and in college, I had good friends whom I thought I knew very well. It wasn't until decades later did I find out that they were in fact gay (one told me right out via an email after I contacted him after all those years, the other still hasn't said so though I know from other reliable sources in his life that he is). It is very possible that at the time I knew each of these guys that they hadn't come to their own conclusions yet. If they had, both were very much in the closet at the time.

I don't know - maybe it's a guy thing. Guys don't always want to tell their guy friends that they are gay. Maybe they think that'll change the friendship. Hard to say. From my perspective, it doesn't change the friendship at all. I'm friends with someone because of common interests we share (professional, hobbies, etc.). Just because we have one interest that we don't share in the same way does not have any bearing on the friendship.

My experience with female friends who have come out is a bit different. One of my closest friends in high school realized in her mid-twenties that she was a lesbian. I remember when she first told me; she was very open about it. I was very happy for her in that she found out what made her happy as was persuing that. She is still one of my dearest friends whom I great with a great big hug every time we get together. And for a few years in the 90's I worked with someone who was quite open about being a lesbian. She and I often talked about music, and she steered me towards a number of musical artists that I've found to enjoy for many years since. Her sexuality was just a part of who she was and it didn't matter to her who knew about it.

It is my hope, now that it is late in 2007, that the world is starting to become a bit more tolerant and open-minded. We are who we are, we like who we like. None of us has the right to judge what people should and should not do, especially when it is causing no one else harm and it is actually allowing some folks to finally find happiness in who they are.

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