Harry Potter fans, the rumours are true: Albus Dumbledore, master wizard and Headmaster of Hogwarts, is gay.
JK Rowling, author of the mega-selling fantasy series, outed the beloved character today while appearing before a full house at Carnegie Hall in New York. After reading briefly from the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she took questions from audience members.
She was asked by one young fan whether Dumbledore finds “true love”.
“Dumbledore is gay,” the author responded to gasps and applause.
She then explained that Dumbledore was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, whom he defeated long ago in a battle between good and bad wizards. “Falling in love can blind us to an extent,” Rowling said of Dumbledore’s feelings, adding that Dumbledore was “horribly, terribly let down”.
Dumbledore’s love, she observed, was his “great tragedy”.
“Oh, my God,” Rowling concluded with a laugh, “the fan fiction.”
Potter readers on fan sites and elsewhere on the internet have speculated on the sexuality of Dumbledore, noting that he has no close relationship with women and a mysterious, troubled past. And explicit scenes with Dumbledore already have appeared in fan fiction.
Rowling told the audience that while working on the planned sixth Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, she spotted a reference in the script to a girl who once was of interest to Dumbledore. A note was duly passed to director David Yates, revealing the truth about her character.
Rowling, finishing a brief “Open Book Tour” of the United States, her first tour there since 2000, also said that she regarded her Potter books as a “prolonged argument for tolerance” and urged her fans to “question authority”.
Not everyone likes her work, Rowling said, likely referring to Christian groups that have alleged the books promote witchcraft. Her news about Dumbledore, she said, will give them one more reason.
Brett Conrad spent more than half his life as Patrick Atkins’ partner. For 25 years, the men shared bank accounts, apartments and eventually a home in Fishers.
But when Atkins, 47, fell seriously ill in 2005, Conrad faced what many gay Hoosiers consider a travesty: no law guaranteeing them the same rights as married couples to participate in care decisions for their ill partners.
Conrad, 47, spent much of the past two years trying to win guardianship of Atkins from Atkins’ parents, Thomas and Jeanne of Carmel. Jeanne Atkins is quoted in court documents as saying she believes homosexuality is a sin and that she disapproves of the men’s relationship. The parents have barred Conrad from visiting their now-disabled son in their home where he lives.
In June, Conrad won visitation rights from the Indiana Court of Appeals, but the court upheld an earlier Hamilton County ruling that left control of Atkins’ care to his parents.
Gay-rights activists say the men’s story illustrates the discrimination embedded in Indiana law and underscores why gay marriage should be allowed.
On the other side, opponents of same-sex marriage say the case could have been prevented if Conrad and Atkins had used existing laws that can give unmarried couples — straight and gay — the legal right to act on each other’s behalf.
Read the whole article (linked above) for more information, including some great references about what legal documents you should have in place to protect yourself from this sort of madness.
And obviously – I’m never eating Atkins Cheesecake again, and of course, I’m contacting the Atkins family to tell them why that’s the case.
Wave 3 News
By Janelle MacDonald
(CROTHERSVILLE, Ind.) — Three suspects in the murder of 35-year-old Aaron Hall made their first appearance in court late Tuesday. As WAVE 3 Investigator Janelle MacDonald reports, according to court documents, it was a night of drinking whiskey and beer that went horribly wrong.
Three people are charged in connection with Hall’s brutal beating death: 19-year-old Garrett Gray and 18-year-old Coleman king face murder charges; 21-year-old Robert James (“Jamie”) Hendricks has been charged with assisting a criminal.
At first, police didn’t know the motive for the crime, but now Jackson County Sheriff’s Detective Robert Henley says the suspects have told police that the victim, Aaron Hall, made an obscene motion and homosexual suggestion to King.
At that point, King allegedly “went crazy on Hall,” beating him with his fists.
Investigators say Gray joined in, and both men beat Hall with their fists; and at one point detectives say King even removed his boot and used that to hit Hall. The beating allegedly continued for several hours, though court documents say the men paused to photograph themselves with their arms around Hall’s beaten body.
According to the affidavit filed by prosecutors, King and Gray, along with the third suspect, Hendricks, then dragged Hall out of the house by his feet, with his head hitting the stairs, and dumped him in a ditch.
Detective Henley says Gray told investigators “he thought (Hall) was still alive at this point, but his breathing was very labored.”
According to investigators, days later, King, Gray and Hendricks retrieved Hall’s body from the ditch and hid it in Gray’s garage behind some cabinets.
GIG HARBOR, Wash. — Restrictions on the use of school security videotape have been tightened after images of two high school students kissing were shown to the parents of one of the girls, officials say.
Keith Nelson, dean of students at Gig Harbor High School, said he saw the students kissing and holding hands in the school’s busy commons, checked a surveillance camera and showed the parents the tape because they had asked him a few weeks earlier to alert them to any conduct by their daughter that was out of the ordinary.
They then transferred their daughter to a school outside the Peninsula School District, which lies northwest of Tacoma.
Both girls said their privacy was invaded and denied doing anything wrong. Neither was identified by name in an article published Thursday by The News Tribune of Tacoma.
The kiss amounted to a quick “peck,” said the girl who remains at the school, a 17-year-old senior described as the daughter of a News Tribune employee.
“We weren’t doing anything inappropriate, nothing anyone else wouldn’t do,” she said.
Nelson said students could not have any expectation of privacy in a crowded place and maintained that he would have taken the same action had the students kissing been a boy and a girl.
An internal investigation into a complaint from a student — it was unclear whether the complaint came from one of the girls — established that Nelson had not violated district policy, Assistant School Superintendent Shannon Wiggs said.
Even so, Principal Greg Schellenberg said, school surveillance videotape may now be used only for security monitoring and discipline for actions such as trespassing, vandalism and fighting.
Kissing and other public displays of affection were at the time and remain violations of school rules, but violators will first be given warnings and will be disciplined only for a second offense, Schellenberg said. In addition, school employees are barred from sharing surveillance video in response to an open-ended parental request.
“It’s not our normal practice,” Schellenberg said. “It’s not going to happen again.”
In the case of the kiss, he added, “the same information could have been portrayed to the family without the video.”
Nelson said he respected the change in policy but added that he believes his first obligation is to parents.
“They’re paying good money for us to make their kids good citizens,” he said. “Whatever that means to the parents, I’ll do it.”
Aside from the girls saying there wasn’t anything to it – what if there was? Who the hell are the school officials to report this to parents? This is a punishable offense? I’m thinking back to the girl I made out with in the bathroom in drama club in high school… holy crap.
That’s the problem with surveillance culture – there’s so much that can be misinterpreted from a video.
Advance Indiana continues to follow up on the story I noted earlier of the brutal hate crime beating murder of Aaron Hall in Crothersville, Indiana. Gary Welsh reports the criminals are being charged lightly given the bias and brutality of the crime, and may even get off with an outrageous manslaughter conviction. Read the details.
Gary also notes that no major Indiana media outlets are picking up what should be a national news story, and that no GLBT organizations have made public statements about the crime.
In another post, Welsh has uncovered more details about the connection between one of the killers, Garrett Gray, and his father – Terry Gray, the county deputy coroner. He also notes that Hall’s body was discovered in Terry Gray’s garage 10 days after his death.
Awhile back, I wrote about the second part of Jesus MCC’s anti-discrimination campaign here in Indianapolis, involving six provocative billboards. At the time, I said “I like it!” without putting a whole lot of thought into the matter.
Soon after that, I caught sight of one of the billboards, at 38th and College. I have to admit, it’s pretty impressive live.
Then Scott posted a more thoughtful response on his blog (in part):
However, the Bible IS open to interpretation, so I guess if the straight fundies are going to use it to diminish the gays, then the gay fundies have every right to use the same tool. And on the heels of solid activism that led to the stalling of SJR-7, our state’s anti-gay marriage amendment, I’m glad to see that this gay community is finally waking up and getting a little bit loud, even if some of it is being done through a church. At least there’s movement here.
Still, I can’t imagine that there’s going to be a winner in this argument, MCC isn’t going to change the minds of the likes of Miller, Bosma, Hershman, [insert name of favorite republican fundie here]. Instead, they’re either going to be even more pissed off at us or just dismiss it right from the start. And that makes me ask: What’s the point?
And after considering his thoughts, I commented there with this:
You gave this much more thought than I did – I saw the billboards and thought “Ha! That’s such a strange interpretation. That’ll piss off the fundies!”
I think there’s some value in it because it re-frames some of the debate in radically different ways, and puts the Miller crowd in the position of defending their interpretation of the bible rather than constantly using it as a weapon.
For people who think the bible is set in stone and their interpretation is the only one that exists, the idea that someone can read something different in the bible is a big problem. It’s easy for them to bash atheists – we’re just sinners. But forcing examination of scripture is something else.
Similar to what happened with SJR-7 – we were able to shift the debate about the amendment from “gays are immoral” to “that second paragraph is deeply flawed” and the fundies suddenly had to play defense – something they clearly aren’t used to and don’t know how to do.
Then for those of us who are non-believers in Christianity, we have a role to play also – in pointing out that we don’t believe in their imaginary bearded friend in the sky, and no one can make us.
Not long after that, the two of the six billboards around town were vandalized – as Bilerico and numerous sites have reported.
Indyness recently posted her thoughts on the Jesus MCC billboards – she’s very critical of the project, and it made me consider the whole matter more closely, which I’m very grateful for.
First, this campaign goes way beyond sparking debate. The minister has written a book on this subject and clearly has an agenda to push and a book to sell. He’s using the church as his platform. I hope the church signed up for this. I bet his publisher is ecstatic.
Second, there are many people in this church who are desperately seeking approval. For them, that’s what this campaign is about. Not debate. It’s about “Please, please, please accept me”. I think that the church and the community needs to address this psychological state that some members of the community find themselves in. Personally, I’m not begging for acceptance from anyone. I’m a productive member of society. That should be enough.
Third, I’m concerned about the safety of the members of this church. This church has made itself a target by doing this campaign. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take risks. I just hope that everybody realizes what they signed up for…
Indyness’ point about the minister writing a book is a new to me, and something I didn’t realize, although I don’t know that it would especially bother me – the potential market for his book is pretty limited, frankly. I’m not going to run out and get a copy because of this campaign, and I doubt Eric Miller will, either. Even if the whole campaign is just a cynical ploy to sell books, it advances my agenda, so I can’t complain.
I’m not interested in getting anyone’s acceptance. My concern is this house. Despite our careful financial and legal arrangements, if something happened to me, Stephanie would be forced to sell this house to pay off the taxes on my estate, and she would lose much of my assets that are left to her, and possibly part of her own – all because we aren’t able to get legally married. That PISSES ME OFF. It’s just not fair. My hard work should count as much as any heterosexual person’s – I worked to get this money, and my wife should be able to keep it, the same as any heterosexual person.
(Even when I explain this to my understanding, pro-gay heterosexual friends, they don’t understand it. I have to go over it again and again – when the light bulb finally goes on and they understand, the realization is amazing to them. I’m astonished that even the most liberal, pro-gay people don’t really get this point. They think the whole gay marriage drive is just about doing the right thing – they really have no idea there are tangible benefits to getting married that they enjoy and we don’t.)
The reason all of this could occur is because some asshats with their arbitrary religious rules have control of the statehouse, and they’re able to use their Bible as a weapon. I’m interested in taking that weapon away from them. Anything that challenges the lock that religion has on our legal system in this state is okay by me, even if it’s coming from the direction of challenging their belief system itself.
I know that just being a productive member of society should be enough, but if logic came into it, homophobia and religious nutiness would have disappeared long ago.
I know a few Jesus MCC members, but not as close friends, so I can’t say what their motivations are; I don’t know if they’re desperately seeking acceptance or not. I also can’t say whether they know what they’re in for with this campaign. The two members I know best are Zach and Chris – and Zach was an IYG member many years ago when I was a volunteer for that organization. From some general statements Zach has made, I have a good idea that he’s seen his fair share of homophobia, and isn’t exactly a babe in the woods.
I’m very glad that Scott and Indyness thought about this more carefully and thoroughly than I did, even though I might disagree with them on some points. I glossed over the whole thing in a pretty flip way, which was pretty cavalier of me.
It’s one thing when they have bat boys and aliens in the tabloids, but this false headline is going to get people killed. The guy WAS NOT gay – there’s just no evidence of it. But now every retarded redneck in the country will read this in line at Wal-Mart (because that’s the only thing they can read) buy a gun and start killing my people. This makes me want to sue the Globe for inciting violence.
From WTHR, a story on a man who was beaten to death in Crothersville, Indiana because his attackers thought he was gay:
Police found Aaron Hall’s badly beaten body hidden inside a garage on Sunday. Charged in connection with the murder were 19-year-old Garrett Gray, 18-year-old Coleman King and 21-year-old Robert Hendricks. Police made the arrests after receiving a tip from Garrett Gray’s friend.
The tipster got a multi-media text message on his cell phone from the suspects. In the photo, Aaron Hall appeared with the suspects’ arms around him. Hall had a swollen lip, a black eye, and appeared badly beaten.
Police say on April 12th, Hall and the three suspects were drinking at Gray’s house. The suspects told police Hall grabbed Coleman King and questioned his sexuality. That set off the deadly beating.
“And they’re saying what’s why they killed him. Because he was gay. And he wasn’t gay,” said Thomas Hall. “I don’t know any crime on the planet that deserves that type of punishment.”
Court papers show Gray and King brutally attacked, then photographed Hall. King hit him with his boots at least 75 times. The suspects told police they dragged Hall down the steps, loaded him into Robert Hendricks’ truck, and dumped his body in a ditch. They say they went back two days later, and found Hall in a nearby field. That’s when they tell police they wrapped the body in a tarp and hid it in Gray’s garage.
The homicide has left Aaron Hall’s family horrified.
As several local websites have pointed out, this year’s state legislature chose to kill off a hate crimes bill that would have ensured this man’s attackers received just punishment for their bias-motivated crime.
The “National Day of Silence” is an annual, nationwide school event designed to bring attention to the bullying, harassment and violence directed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered kids in school settings. I’ve tried to mention it mentioned the event the past couple of years here to promote what I think is a worthwhile event. This years’ event was yesterday. In New Castle, Indiana, the event lead to bomb threats and other violent threats, so the school had to be locked down:
But the silent protest brought threats of weapons and violence at New Castle Chrysler High School. School leaders learned of the threat with a phone call Tuesday “from someone who identified himself as a parent who said their child came home and said they heard there was going to be some violence at the school today. It gave us concern that maybe we needed to step up security a little bit today to make sure the students would be safe,” said John Newby, New Castle Schools superintendent.
From the start of class, the school went into complete lockdown for the entire day.
“They took us all to the fieldhouse and we sat there for like two hours. They took us one by one and they scanned us with metal detectors,” said Skylar Ward, student.
In the past I called protestors against the Day of Silence what I believe they are – Christian terrorists (See “Bash a Fag For Jesus“) – turns out my words are quite accurate. On the heels of the Virginia Tech tragedy, this is pretty telling about what people in Indiana are like: homophobic and violent.
I just wanted to say that there are a lot of hard working people who were tireless in getting SJR-7 stopped in its tracks. I’m afraid to start naming them, because I’ll manage to leave someone out – but every single person who was involved in the grassroots effort worked hard – much harder than I did – and I want them all to know that I appreciated everything they did. The people who got Cummins, Wellpoint, Lilly, DowAgro and other big companies to the table – you guys rock.
Of course, the amendment could still be introduced back into the legislature in 2008. But stopping it here was a major blow, and one worth celebrating. There’s no limit to the power of people working together…
This is being discussed in the comments on my post on Tony Dungy – but it bears pulling up to it’s own entry – at the Indiana Family Institute Dinner, the Colts sent merchandise to be donated off in an auction, which raised $20,000 for the organization to oppose gay rights and to support SJR-7.
Seats for the event at the Ritz Charles, one of the institute’s largest annual fundraisers, went for $75 apiece. In addition to the more than $50,000 raised from ticket sales, the institute auctioned off enough Dungy-signed Colts footballs, helmets and paraphernalia to raise nearly another $20,000.
In keeping with the Colts theme, Dungy was introduced by Colts punter Hunter Smith, whose Christian band Connersvine served as the evening’s entertainment.
While it’s not a public press release of their support for the anti-gay group, it is an endorsement directly from the Colts home office of the marriage discrimination amendment, and is profoundly disappointing.
Colts coach Tony Dungy said he knows some people would prefer him to steer clear of the gay marriage debate, but he used a speech Tuesday night to clearly stake out his position.
Dungy told more than 700 people at the Indiana Family Institute’s banquet that he agrees with that organization’s position supporting a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
“I appreciate the stance they’re taking, and I embrace that stance,” Dungy said.
Dungy’s comments came in the final three minutes of a wide-ranging, 20-minute speech that recounted stories from the Colts’ Super Bowl run, related his interest in prison ministry and described how he wondered whether his firing in Tampa was God’s signal for him to leave football and enter ministry. He also talked about his efforts to make the Colts more family-friendly by encouraging players to bring their kids to practice.
Local and national gay-rights organizations had criticized Dungy for accepting the invitation to appear at the banquet. The institute, affiliated with Focus on the Family, has been one of the leading supporters of the marriage amendment.
“IFI is saying what the Lord says,” Dungy said. “You can take that and make your decision on which way you want to be. I’m on the Lord’s side.”
The coach said his comments shouldn’t be taken as gay bashing, but rather his views on the matter as he sees them from a perspective of faith.
“We’re not anti- anything else. We’re not trying to downgrade anyone else. But we’re trying to promote the family — family values the Lord’s way,” Dungy said.
Previous IFI banquets had drawn at most 440 guests, according to organizers. But the appearance of the Super Bowl-winning coach to receive the institute’s “Friend of the Family” award set a record.
Sorry, Tony – this is gay bashing. Basically the textbook definition of it. And even if you’re are claiming to only be concerned with the marriage issue – Indiana Family Institute is not just concerned with that. They say they are, but they have written and supported legislation in the past that went far beyond concerns about marriage. IFI was responsible for a draft of state legislation proposing to quarantine gay men and lesbians in camps to ‘protect against HIV and AIDS’ in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Note, they weren’t talking about rounding up just people who had AIDS (although that legislation DID get passed) – they wanted to pull in all groups they considered ‘at risk’ and they felt all gay men and lesbians fit that category. Yeah… logic escaped them. This draft of the bill was quickly suppressed, but not before a copy of it made its way to the gay community by alarmed folks who read it.
This is the group that Tony Dungy is raising money for.
From Beliefnet, among many other sources:
The president of a prominent Southern Baptist seminary says he would support medical treatment, if it were available, to change the sexual orientation of a fetus inside its mother’s womb from homosexual to heterosexual.
The idea of a hormonal patch for pregnant women was discussed by the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., on his blog, www.almohler.com, on March 2.
“If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin,” Mohler wrote in advice for Christians.
I’ve waited a few days before writing about this, because I was so pissed off when I read it that I couldn’t quite deal with it. Mohler officially wins the Joseph Mengele award for horrific dystopian ideas. You really don’t need me to explain why this is wrong, do you?
But you do see how extreme homophobes are in their bent psychosis, right?
I suppose it would be inappropriate for me to counter by suggesting that we start treating all people who believe in religion for psycho-paranoid delusions, wouldn’t it?
Andrew Anthos, whose dream was to light up the Michigan State Capitol dome in red, white and blue, died Friday of injuries sustained in a Feb. 13 hate beating.
Though Anthos, 72, was visiting with friends as recently as Wednesday, his condition declined rapidly in the past two days and he was administered the last rites late Thursday in Detroit Receiving Hospital.
The attack, which left Anthos paralyzed from the neck down and virtually without speech, shocked the gay community, which reached out to his family with love and support — as well as anger and a resolve for justice.
“There’s going to be a great deal more attention now that this, unfortunately, has become a homicide,” said Jeffrey Montgomery of Michigan’s Triangle Foundation.
“We have worked with prosecutors here for many years, and all the buttons that can be pushed are being pushed right now,” Montgomery said.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has offered to pay for Anthos’ funeral, Montgomery said.
“So many people want to pay their respects,” said Anthos’ niece, Athena Federis, adding that she considers the gay and lesbian people who’ve offered their support “like family.”
The gay, biracial Anthos, known to loved ones as “Buddy,” had been riding the bus that evening from the public library back to his Detroit apartment when another passenger annoyed with his singing approached him and asked if he was gay.
Anthos left the bus and helped a wheelchair-bound fellow passenger through the snow, only to be followed by the assailant, who hit him in the back of the head with a metal pipe and fled.
The wheelchair-using friend was able to provide some information, Detroit Police Detective Sgt. Ryan Lovier said. But police still seek potential witnesses aboard the bus, which would have arrived at the stop near Detroit’s Windsor Towers apartments roughly between 6 and 6:30 p.m.
The assailant is described as a light-skinned black man, no more than 23 years old, about 5 foot 7 and 150 pounds, wearing a dark coat and pants, Lovier said. (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)