Author JK Rowling stunned her fans recently when she answered one young reader’s question about the uber popular Harry Potter stories.
Specifically the question was about Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Who, you ask? For the majority of the book series, Dumbledore is the headmaster of the wizarding school – Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Rowling outed the headmaster by saying that he was gay and had been in love with Grindelwald, whom he had defeated years ago in a bitter fight. The news brought gasps, then applause at Carnegie Hall – and set off massive feedback on Potter fan sites around the world. Most was supportive.
“Jo Rowling calling any Harry Potter character gay would make wonderful strides in tolerance toward homosexuality,” Melissa Anelli, Webmaster of the fan site the-leaky-cauldron.org, told the AP. “By dubbing someone so respected, so talented and so kind, as someone who just happens to be also homosexual, she’s reinforcing the idea that a person’s gayness is not something of which they should be ashamed.”
Also inspired is mother and writer Tralee Pearce. In a piece written for Canada’s The Globe and Mail, Pearce recognizes Dumbledore’s gay icon status as a teaching moment.
She writes, “With more children being raised by same-sex parents…more kids are learning about two-mommy or two-daddy families earlier. Still, parents are often caught off guard when the subject comes up.
“The key to addressing the question is to find out exactly what they’re asking before giving a long-winded answer. Generally, younger kids will want to know how relationships work, while those heading toward puberty may be looking for more information on sex.
Don’t be afraid to say, ‘That’s a good question – I’ll get back to you on that’.