Thanks to Episcopal Cafe for pointing us to this EW commentary by reporter Mark Harris:
Dumbledore: A Lovely Outing
It's often said that if every gay person in the world were to turn purple overnight, homophobia would disappear. In other words, fewer people would be inclined to vilify other human beings if they woke up one day and discovered that they'd been aiming stones at their college roommate, their aunt, their grocer, or their grandson.
Statistics bear this out: People who have a gay family member or friend have more enlightened attitudes about homosexuality than those who don't. What Rowling has done, brilliantly, is to turn Dumbledore purple. She didn't reveal his sexuality in order to unlock a new way of reading the books, or as a provocation. She simply told the world that a main character in the best-loved books of the last 10 years is homosexual, and asked her audience to contend with it — and with the fact that it shouldn't matter. And her choice to make a beloved professor-mentor gay in a world where gay teachers are still routinely slandered as malign influences was, I am certain, no accident.
In addition to the braying of hatemongers, there's already been some umbrage taken at the appropriateness of Rowling's decision to uncork this news in front of children, a brand of sanctimony for which I have no patience. At least one out of 25 of those children will eventually self-identify as homosexual. The other 24, having made their way through an epic series that includes multiple murders, demonic possession, and the psychic toll of having mentally ill parents, will, I imagine, be able to handle the bulletin that some people are gay, and will likely benefit from the richer understanding of the world that such knowledge provides.