McWilliams: In literature, it is problematic to have sexuality as a main identity

Leta McWilliams

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board.

The Harry Potter universe was revamped in 2016 with its first installment of Fantastic Beasts. Since then, fans have been waiting for any piece of information about the next movie, set to come out at the end of 2018. In a recent interview with the movie’s director David Yates, he disclosed information that some fans were extremely unhappy about.

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In 2007, JK Rowling revealed that Albus Dumbledore, Harry’s mentor, was gay and was in love with the new franchise villain Grindelwald. Since the new series focuses a lot on a younger version of Dumbledore, fans were hoping to see his sexuality portrayed in the new film. However, Yates stated that the new film will not focus ‘explicitly’ on Dumbledore’s sexuality. 

Yates is correct by pursuing this path for Dumbledore. Dumbledore is a dynamic character and should not be defined by one factor. 

People all over social media are furious because they’re not getting the representation they want out of this next movie. Developing a character’s sexuality, especially if they are minoritized, is important. However, it should not be the center of attention because, as people, we are more than just our sexuality. Since we focus less on the sexuality of cis-gendered characters, we should do the same for the LGBTQ community. 

Hannah Ramirez, a teachers assistant of Adolescent Literature at Colorado State University, believes that for all the Harry Potter fans out there, developing Dumbledore’s sexuality should happen, but it may not be the best choice for this next movie. 

“We have no idea where Yates is planning on going with the franchise,” Ramirez said. “This film could possibly not even get to the point in Grindelwald and Dumbledore’s relationship for something like this to be explored.”

There is a great deal to say about this controversy, it seems. 

In an article by the Guardian, which has been widely shared on Twitter in light of this controversy, states: “The whole point of being in a minority is that your characteristics describe you; your whole identity is marked out by difference, or opposition.”

This particular statement makes this argument extremely problematic. A person’s worth is not based on their sexuality, and should not be treated as such. To do so is to disregard every other accomplishment, every other feat and characteristic that makes someone who they are.

Makenzie Fairchild, a resident assistant A at CSU and member of the LGBTQ community, believes sexuality should not be an important part for the upcoming ‘Potter’ movie.

“This story is not a love story, and it shouldn’t be treated as such,” Fairchild said. “It would be great for LGBTQ people to have explicit representation, but there are so many things in Harry Potter that people can relate to that the romantic aspect doesn’t matter.”

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It’s true the LGBTQ community needs representation. Movies are finally catching up to the progress made by TV shows and books in this regard. However, forcing any kind of romance into a story can cheapen it. Dumbledores sexuality is much more complex, and it should be treated as such.

The point of these fictional adventures is to not only get lost in the author’s story, but to create one of your own. 

“You create what you want of the universe,” Ramirez said. “I think that the connectivity of today’s society has led to a dependency on what others think, even if they’re the creators of the piece. Nobody should ever hold back on the creativity that you want to impose on your fictional worlds. Being able to create a world of your own through the power of literature? That’s the real magic. Never let anybody take that away from you.”

Accomplishments and character should be identifiers, not just sexuality. A person should see themselves as brave, loyal and intelligent when relating to characters such as Dumbledore. To only love a character and oneself because of their sexuality is problematic, and deteriorating every other accomplishment they have.

Leta McWilliams can be reached at letters@collegian and online at @LetaMcWilliams