Back in October of 2007, the author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling, was answering questions about the series at Carnegie Hall.
When asked why Dumbledore, who once lectured Harry about the importance of love, had no love interest himself, Rowling responded...
"My truthful answer to you… I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. [ovation.] … Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that 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? But, he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix he was very drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him. Yeah, that’s how I always saw Dumbledore."
The response to Dumbledore being gay was swift.
dumbledore is Gay? I love it! :http://www.newsweek.com/id/50787— Sean-Franc Strang (@sean_franc) October 22, 2007
Quickly, this news turned Dumbledore into an icon for the LGBTQ community, despite some consternation that Dumbledore's sexuality was never explicitly addressed in the books or movies. So when it was announced that a young Dumbledore would be in the follow up to 2016s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, people wondered if the movie would finally directly talk about it, especially since the movie plans to heavily feature Gellert Grindelwald, the very dark wizard that J.K. Rowling said that Dumbledore was in love with.
However, when asked about whether Dumbledore would be openly gay in the film, on Tuesday, the film's director and Harry Potter cinematic universe veteran, David Yates, stated...
"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, and ideology and each other.”
Immediately, the Twitter-verse exploded.
Many were not having it...
queer people are sick of clinging to subtext, grow up and give us characters who aren't queer by implication— Caroline Framke (@carolineframke) January 31, 2018
OMFG Yates referred to the characters as young men - but Depp is 54 and Law is 45. In what world are they young men?— Geoffrey Snyder (@gesn10) January 31, 2018
Oh, and let's do the standard Hollywood and straightwash the characters.
Cowardly sellout worried more about market potential than being a real storyteller or a half-decent human with a spine. Pretty sad.— Eric | 🎮 The Black Beyond (@Mean_Games) February 1, 2018
However, there were those who felt that while Dumbledore is gay and in love with the main villain of this film, that it was unnecessary to address from a storytelling perspective...
It wouldn't be inconsistent for Dumbledore to be gay, but the books accounts definitely don't make it necessary for him to truly address it so outright.— Jazmin Cunha (@JazminCunha) January 31, 2018
I dont see how him being gay has anything to do with any of the Harry Potter books. Not relevant to any of them, in my opinion at least.— Seana Smith (@seanasmith51) January 31, 2018
It doesn’t fucking matter. It’s a movie. It’s not big deal. I love harry potter and everything around it and i could care less.— tyler hahn 👾🎈 (@tylerhahn64) January 31, 2018
Here’s a crazy thought. Stick to the magic and don’t ruin with useless subplot bullshit.— Braiden Lambson (@Blamb43) January 31, 2018
Does it even matter? Is a kiss scene between him and Grwendal going to be a climax in the film? I doubt it.— Alexandra Mesghina (@Wondermorena) January 31, 2018
Of course this is the fandom equivalent of 'I don't care if he's gay as long as he doesn't shove it in my face,' which these people were quick to point out...
Doesn't have to be that, but an acknowledgement that the antagonist is his actual ex-boyfriend wouldn't be too incongruous— J (@xhorsechestnutx) January 31, 2018
it's the kind of thing that would probably come up
Exactly. They had 8 fuckin movies about budding heterosexuality, that wasn’t necessary either, but it’s not necessary to mention a homosexual relationship? Seems off to me.— Swolbias Funke (@WatsonColby) January 31, 2018
Indeed. That they can't even rise to a throwaway piece of dialogue is lol— J (@xhorsechestnutx) January 31, 2018
Here's to hoping that in the planned third film, Dumbledore will finally come out of the cinematic closet.