Now, there’s a headline that never quite made it into the Daily Prophet. But, JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, made the announcement recently at a gathering in Carnegie Hall, New York.

Now, this announcement alone was enough to earn this story a place in the Weird Wednesday series, but what occurred after the announcement was equally bizarre: wild applause from the audience. Mmmmm….did I miss something? Since when was an announcement that a character of fiction is gay a justification for an outpouring of appreciative applause? The kinds of things that I would tend to find praise & applaud-worthy include: the end of a good stage play, a best man’s speech, a sporting victory, a graduation ceremony, or when someone saves a child from drowning – you know important or worthy events and great achievements. But an announcement that a non-existent being was/is gay? Since when was homosexuality elevated to the status of praise-worthy? It’s like the gay pride phenomenon. If homosexuality is caused by nature, as the gay community tends to claim, how can it be something to be proud of or considered praise-worthy? You might as well expect a round of applause for announcing that you have big curly ginger pubes. I’d love to know at what point in history did taking it up the arse become a badge of honour and admiration. Isn’t it simply something that any Bombay hooker can do?

In any event, Dumbledore is fictional. He exists only on paper – and even then only the paper of the 7 Harry Potter books. He has no existence outside of them. If he wasn’t gay in the books then labelling him gay now strikes me as a rather illegitimate move. Rowling may as well announce that when he wasn’t terrorising the wizarding world with his evil, Lord Voldemort enjoyed trips to the local gym to perv on all the lycra-spandex covered gym treats. Ascribing personality traits, characteristics, and in this case sexuality, to a character after the event is a tad, ummmm, I don’t know what – but you can’t do it! If Dumbledore wasn’t gay in the books then he isn’t gay now. Rowling of course attempted to link Dumbledore’s homosexuality to a friendship he had with another wizard, but there wasn’t anything uniquely, and I would even add implicitly, gay about the relationship. So, it hardly justifies the claim.

Perhaps Rowling was just pandering to a certain audience. Who knows, maybe she’ll soon announce that Harry, Ron & Hermione regularly engaged in three-some romps behind Hagrid’s hut so as to appeal to her swinger fan-base and give them something to clap about.

Already gay groups and Christians are annoyed about the episode (although, admittedly, both groups tend to live in a perpetual state of annoyance anyway). Gay groups are angry that Rowling didn’t make Dumbledore explicitly gay in the books (perhaps she could have written a scene in which Dumbledore gets caught playing with Severus Snape’s “wand” in the potions store). Christians on the other hand see the announcement as the final confirmation that the books were indeed inspired and conceived out of the very bowels of Hell itself. They already considered the books as promoting witchcraft amongst kids (but levelled no similar charge at CS Lewis’s Narnia books which contain similar themes), and this latest episode is the last straw. I remember having an argument about the Harry Potter books at the home of a Christian friend of mine. He hated them for this reason and wouldn’t let his kids read them. This was bizarre in and of itself but while he was preaching this his son was playing a computer game in the corner which involved picking up prostitutes and then running them over in a car. Just like Jesus, eh? Remember that verse in the Bible: “And verily verily I say unto thee, thou shalt readily invite prossies into your car to have thine own way. And they had thine own way and the Lord saw that it was good” And the other one: “Mow down that filthy Whore of Babylon, destroy her, and send her back to the pit.” Matthew, or was it Mark, or, ummm…I don’t know, but those verses are in there somewhere.

And with both sides still screeching like cats with fireworks up their arses I can’t see what else I can do but whisper very gently:

“Psst…it’s only a story!”

Stephen Graham