Was she going to slap you because you never in any way made him gay in the actual books, taking zero risks/doing absolutely nothing for gay characters in literature, and only announcing your “authorial intent” afterwards for a cheap shot at looking like an ~ally~
Gay people are just normal people. We are not told about any of the Hogwarts professors love lives, other than Snape, and it would be completely out of character for Dumbledore to walk around telling everyone about his sexuality.
Did you want her to make him dress in glittery platform boots, a crop top, and decorate his office in rainbow flags to make it more obvious for you? Would that be enough of a stereotype to appease you people? Or what? Please tell me. I’d like to know how you think a gay character is supposed to be portrayed.
And did you miss the Grindelwald chapters in the ‘actual books’? Or was that also not obvious enough for you? Did Dumbledore need to whisper “always” wistfully in order for you to connect that he had romantic feelings for Grindelwald? Maybe you are American and need them to gaze longingly into each others eyes with awkward close ups of their fingers almost grazing each other that Hollywood thinks means ‘true love’.
It didn’t fit into his relationship to Harry to ever say “I’m gay”, and so it was not stated explicitly (you might have noticed the book was told from Harry Potter’s perspective).
The point is though, that he is a homosexual, well respected, powerful, and very loved wizard- and his sexuality doesn’t matter because no one else thinks it matters. a.k.a. no one care that he loves men, and that is wonderful.
Wow, okay, there is a lot of stuff going on in this relatively short post (and I’m really sorry for the length of this, guys — I’d cut it if I could, but tumblr won’t let me, so remember you can always hit J to skip down)! I’m sure, both from the notecount on this and from looking at their blog, that the OP has gotten a ton of response to this, but I want to just take a second and clear up some stuff that may not have been said, or may not have been said clearly.
So, to start with an example: let’s all imagine that a couple years from now, Johnny Q. Reader, aged 9 and a half, gets all seven Harry Potter books for Christmas. Neither one of his parents are Potterheads; in fact, they’ve never read the books or seen the movies. They bought these books for Johnny at the urging of a salesperson or friend, and know what everyone who hasn’t read the Potter books knows about the Potter books: that they’re really popular kids books about wizards and magic. They don’t know J.K. Rowling said Dumbledore was gay in an interview, because why would they know that? They’ve never paid much attention to the series before, there are no longer any new books or movies coming out, and that interview happened years ago — it’s not like people are still talking about it in what you might call ~mainstream~ culture.
So young Johnny reads — devours, really — all seven books. He loves them. He has the transformative experience so many of us did in reading these books, becomes completely immersed in the world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, except he does it in six months, because all the books are out. When he finishes them, he’s flush with that feeling you get at the end of a really good story, that sense that you wish it would never end… but he’s also, y’know, ten years old. He’s got soccer practice and Billy’s birthday party and school tomorrow, not to mention the ability only children have to take their all-consuming attention away from one thing and drop it unceremoniously onto another. He could google Harry Potter, but he doesn’t. He could google Albus Dumbledore, his favorite character from the series, but he doesn’t. He goes to soccer practice and Billy’s birthday party and school, and carries with him what he knows of Harry Potter from the seven books he read, because, well. Seven books is a lot, especially to a 10 year old kid. It feels like enough.
Now, OP mentions in their post the obviousness of the Grindlewald chapter, and yeah, sure, you caught me, as a queer 18 year old powering through DH the day it came out, I read that chapter thinking “Untz untz untz, these two are totally getting it on like it’s their last chance before their narrative unravels into a thinly-veiled Holocaust parallel.” But Johnny Q. Reader, aged 9.5 - 10, isn’t thinking that. Johnny Q. Reader is thinking “Dumbledore and Grindlewald were close friends!” because that’s what the book told him to think. Johnny doesn’t know about that interview; Johnny’s parents don’t know about that interview. So, in terms of Johnny’s experience of the character, Albus Dumbledore is not gay. Which means Johnny is not going to pause before he uses gay as insult to another kid, thinking of this character he grew to feel connected with, this character he came to know as important and human and brave. Which means that, if Johnny is called gay by another kid, if Johnny himself turns out to be queer, he is not going to be able to think back to Albus Dumbledore and feel comforted, strengthened, a little less alone.
And hey, speaking of little Johnny’s impression of the books — the OP talks about how none of the other professors save Snape have visible love lives within the narrative, and while that’s not technically true (Hagrid, remember, was a professor in PoA), it’s also not important. Because in narratives, especially in children’s narratives, it doesn’t make sense to break characters down by their profession; it makes sense to break them down by their comparable visibility and importance to the character whose point of view you’re working within. Harry and Dumbledore’s relationship isn’t, or even in my opinion something that should be primarily considered as, a typical student-to-teacher relationship, unless you think Dumbles was handing out invisibility cloaks to, quietly pulling the strings on the lives of, and waiting beyond the veil of death for every other Hogwarts student. If you want to make the point that people whose relationships to Harry are comparable to Dumbledore’s don’t have visible sexual orientations, you should be talking about Significant Adults, not Hogwarts professors.
Aaaaand, of course, you can’t make that point, because here are the Significant Adults, other than Dumbledore, in the life of Harry Potter: the Dursleys (terrible people, but in an apparently loving heterosexual marriage), the Potters (dead people, but in an an apparently loving heterosexual marriage), the Weasleys (in an apparently loving heterosexual marriage), Hagrid (shown falling for and dating Madame Maxime), Sirius Black (did his waiting, 12 years of it, in Azkaban, and spends remainder of his life in hiding without a ton of opportunity for dating; however, the narrative talks about the pictures of girls he used to keep on his walls/how all the girls used to love him, so it’s strongly implied that he’s heterosexual), Remus Lupin (enters an apparently loving heterosexual marriage within the series), Snape (~Always~), arguably the Malfoys (Death Eaters, but in an apparently loving heterosexual marriage), and McGonagall who admittedly is portrayed within series as staying single and letting her hair flow in the wind while she fires spells into the sunset, I’ll give you that one.
OP says it didn’t fit into Dumbledore’s relationship with Harry to ever say “I’m gay,” and so it was not stated implicitly: I ask you, nay, I implore you, to consider that a little further. With the exception of McGonagall — and arguably Sirius, if you want to call Sirius then fine, Sirius is really a whole ‘nother essay for me so go ahead — every other Significant Adult in Harry’s life is presented by the narrative as straight. I’m not saying that’s a horrible thing, or a thing that makes JK Rowling a terrible person — I’m just saying that they are, and you probably didn’t even notice.
You think it would have been outside of the realm of Dumbledore’s relationship with Harry to say “I’m gay,” fine. Why couldn’t someone else have said it — perhaps noted gossip columnist Rita Skeeter, in the book she wrote about Dumbledore’s life, specifically in the chapter she devoted to his friendship with Grindlewald? What about Remus or Sirius, while discussing the heyday of the Order of the Phoenix? Why couldn’t Hagrid, with his big mouth, have spilled something about the Headmaster’s personal life? Why couldn’t McGonagall have said something to Dumbledore about it that Harry overhead? Why couldn’t Dumbledore himself have mentioned it in a way that wasn’t a stilted, heavy coming out speech: I mean, god knows the guy is random enough. Perhaps, “Would you like some lemon drops, Harry? I once had a boyfriend who loved them.” Perhaps, “Oh, dear, the last time I was in Hogsmeade, it was on a rather terrible date. I wonder what ever happened to him?” There are a thousand different ways to establish a character’s sexuality, which I know, because they’re used to establish characters as straight all the time. And if you want to play like the Potter universe is totally accepting of queer people, like Dumbledore’s sexuality doesn’t have to get brought up because not bringing it up shows how much it ~doesn’t matter~ to anyone, I’d be interested to know why we’re aware of all these straight characters. If not ever bringing it up or establishing it in any way at all is a sign of normalcy and acceptance for sexuality, why isn’t every adult in the series a question mark?
On that topic: man oh man, there is nothing I hate hearing more than “Sexuality doesn’t matter,” than “No one cares, and that’s wonderful.” Because, as a queer person: I care! It matters to me! Do I think it’s wonderful when people think my sexuality doesn’t matter in terms of things like my professional life, or whether I’m a good person or a trustworthy friend? Sure. That’s great, because my sexuality doesn’t matter in terms of those things, and people shouldn’t assume that it would. But it sure as hell has mattered to me, has impacted me and my life, and it’s sure as hell part of who I am. The alternate reality straight version of me, floating around out there somewhere in the multiverse, has had different experience than I have, has internalized different things than I have, has loved different people than I have. She is different than me! And the idea that people think saying “Well, hooray, nobody cares about that part of you,” is acceptance is always going to bum me out. The idea that people classify, “I think you’re normal even though you’re queer,” (a statement that really means “I think you’re normal even though you’re not”) as an open, affirming thing to say is always, always going to register for me as serious buzzkill.
I’m not saying you should hate JK Rowling, or even that I think she said what she said about Dumbledore’s sexuality just to look like an ally — I, personally, don’t hate her, and don’t think that. I have a hard time hating someone who both gave me a series of books that I love to this day and had to be taken off the billionaires list because she gives so much of her money to charity; I think she really wrote and thinks Dumbledore as gay, and said something about it the way she would’ve about any other detail of her writing. But if you really want to argue, as the OP did, that the point is that “he is a homosexual, well respected, powerful, and very loved wizard,” then I think you have to stop and think of what little Johnny Q., aged 9.5-10, is seeing. Well-respected? Yes. Powerful? You betcha. Very loved? Absolutely. But homosexual? Not where Johnny can see it. Not in Johnny’s book.