Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I'm a short, red-headed dwarf, and I wasn't included in the stories, either

I'm a fan of the Harry Potter books, something that has earned me no small amount of ribbing. I read whatever I come across on the subject, and keep up with the on-line buzz via Potter-related RSS feeds and the like. That made me one of the first in my local circle of friends to slap his forehead at the J.K. Rowling's latest news: Dumbledore was gay.

Never mind that he's fictional. Never mind that it really doesn't come out in the stories, other than some odd clothing choices and an intense youthful friendship, both of which are ambiguous in the story, and irrelevant to the plot as a whole. Never mind that the Bible calls it sin. I won't get into the morals of this, but the mores do bug me.

While on break, I read an article in Time magazine that bemoaned the fact that gay characters and situations really aren't included in the book, and suggested that perhaps Blaise Zabini and Justin Finch-Fletchley could have been written in as going to the Yule Ball together, or something.

I've never understood the logic here. Think about it: Do you look around at your friends, and say, "Well, I've got a few Pacific islanders, a Native American, a few black guys, a token white, and — oh, damn — I'm missing a lesbian. I'd better phone around and find one"?

Well, do you?

No, you don't. You don't do that with your friends, and, if you have an ounce of sense, you don't do that with your writing, either. Any manual on writing (most of which are engaging material in and of themselves) will tell you to write what you know. Any teacher grading papers can tell you what writing what you don't know looks like.

If I'm writing a story, chances are, there aren't going to be any gay guys in it. Other than one guy who flirts with me on Facebook, I don't know anyone who is openly gay. (And I now understand why girls often take flirting the wrong way.) Diversity for the sake of diversity has no logical limits; should we complain that there are no transgendered (if not transfigured) characters in Harry Potter? Should we complain that Indians Native Americans are underrepresented? Perhaps we should go all the way and complain that short, red-headed dwarves named Andy weren't included in the books. I feel left out, dagnabbit!

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