by Jennifer Polish
So Dumbledore and Gandalf got married.
At the suggestion of J.K. Rowling.
And all the fandoms rode off into the proverbial sunset.
But that’s not the entire story.
In the same episode of Doctor Who that Shakespeare was portrayed as bisexual (I punched the air myself before remembering I was watching it with a straight cis guy who was glaring at me), the Doctor proclaims – after saving the world with the iconic spell Expelliarmus! (please don’t ask how) – “Good old J.K.!”
Which is largely what the queer interwebs have been saying of late: Good old J.K.!
Because who doesn’t enjoy watching the Westboro Baptist Church be kicked where it hurts most on Twitter by a world-famous author?
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 23, 2015
.@WBCsigns Alas, the sheer awesomeness of such a union in such a place would blow your tiny bigoted minds out of your thick sloping skulls.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 26, 2015
Headlines abound about the author of the Harry Potter series “blasting” the Westboro Baptist Church. In case you missed it, after they threatened to picket Dumbledore and Gandalf’s Irish wedding (!!!!), Rowling tweeted back at them: “Alas, the sheer awesomeness of such a union in such a place would blow your tiny bigoted minds out of your thick sloping skulls.” Following up on this, she tweeted again, to explain why she snapped back at the extremist group: “I don’t care about WBC. I think it’s important that scared gay kids who aren’t out yet see hate speech challenged.”
And yes, yes it is! So… good old J.K.!
But I worry. I worry that we are too eager to give straight cis folks cookies for offering us such basic support: Rowling had absolutely nothing to lose from responding to WBC’s tweet in the way that she did. And since she has the platform that she has… why wouldn’t she?
I know not everyone would. So yes, what she did is great. And important. Yes. It’s always amusing to watch WBC be embarrassed, and more importantly, Rowling is absolutely right about it being essential for young queer kids to witness “hate speech” being challenged.
What about when I was a young queer kid? When I was growing up reading Harry Potter, and I couldn’t for the life of me understand why Ron wouldn’t just own up to his sexual tension with Harry, why Ginny didn’t coax Hermione through her fear about falling in love with Luna? Or, for that matter, why no one – no one – in all of Hogwarts was portrayed by Rowling as anything other than a straight cis (mostly) able-bodied white person (except for a few token people of color)?
Sure, it’s great that Rowling is so “out” about queer rights now. And sure, she’s said that Dumbledore is gay now.
Maybe I’m just bitter.
But where were my out witches and wizards while I was reading Harry Potter, good old J.K.?
Because I was a young queer kid, too, and only queer fan fiction (you know, like the ones you’ve threatened law suits over) got me through.
Good old J.K. indeed: but for some of us, it’s a little late in coming.