I remember reading the last Harry Potter book and coming to the section that described Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s relationship and just waiting for it to explicitly say that they were dating or in love. I remember being ready to settle for it to say that Dumbledore simply had a crush on him and it was entirely one-sided. I just remember waiting for it to explicitly say that there was something other than friendship there.
It never happened though and it left me feeling kind of… blah. It felt unresolved. Like that relationship wasn’t explained the best way it could have been.
Then when Rowling came out later to say that Dumbledore was gay, it felt like a cop-out almost. Like she could have made this explicitly clear in the book but she chose not to. She chose instead to beat around the bush and then claim later that it was proper queer representation. I’m sorry, but it really wasn’t and still isn’t.
We also all know, or should know at least, that Elphias Doge was head over heels in love with Dumbledore and had been ever since they were in Hogwarts together. The signs were definitely there.
They planned to go on a world tour together and when Dumbledore couldn’t go because his mother had died, Doge made sure to write him letters constantly.
When Dumbledore died, Doge wrote a long, heartfelt, and achingly emotional obituary for him in the Daily Prophet.
He became fiercely defensive of Dumbledore when Rita Skeeter, or anyone for that matter, dared to slander his name in front of him. Just go back and read the section in Deathly Hallows where Harry, Elphias, and Muriel are all sitting at a table discussing Rita Skeeter’s “biography” on Dumbledore. The way he defends Dumbledore, you can tell there’s a love there that goes way deeper than friendship. Whether that love was returned, I have no idea. But I do know that he loved Dumbledore.
Then there’s the script for Cursed Child. If that’s not a Albus/Scorpius fanfic, I don’t know what is. When they first meet, she has them babbling at one another like they’re meeting their first crush. They spend every moment possible with each other, and when they’re forcibly separated by Harry, they “gaze longingly” at each other across a staircase.
Once again the signs are definitely there, but it goes nowhere. Instead she has them develop crushes on girls seemingly out of nowhere with little to no development. She did the same thing with Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks. Both of them were so painfully obviously queer coded, and yet they ended up in a “straight” relationship.
Maybe we can give her the benefit of the doubt and say that all of these characters (sans Dumbledore because she came out and said he was gay) were bisexual. Fine. That still doesn’t make it proper representation.
This form of queer bating is an unfortunate habit with Rowling. I’m only scratching the surface of the queer baiting mess that was littered across the Harry Potter series. It would’ve meant a lot to a queer kids to see someone like themselves represented in the stories they loved. Instead all they got was a tease and then the same old mess. They deserved much better than what they got.