When Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling revealed Albus Dumbledore was gay after the publication of Deathly Hallows, there was an uproar.
She broke the cardinal rule — often attributed to Russian playwright Anton Chekhov — show, don’t tell.
The theory is simple. In storytelling, don’t tell the audience what a character is like, or how a setting feels, show them through senses, actions, and feelings.
By telling fans Dumbledore was gay, rather than showing us (even implications of his relationship with Grindelwald in the seventh book are a stretch at best), there’s a robbery of representation. What good does it do queer audiences, regardless of age, simply to tell them, rather than let them see and experience it for themselves?
What good does it do to queerbait?
This problem extends far beyond Rowling and it’s time to address it.