|Herman Melville, pro-gay writer?|
Bloom's article didn't get me thinking about which characters might be gay so much as it made me wonder if forcing a character out of the metaphorical closet matters. When I help students frame their research question for literature papers, I always ask them to think about what the author meant by including this or that character or this or that plot device. If an author intended to create a gay character but didn't deliberately signal their sexuality to the reader and it doesn't impact the narrative, does it matter?
Back in 2007, J.K. Rowling suggested that Albus Dumbledore was gay*. It never came up in any of the seven books. The more I think about it, the more I don't think it matters whether or not a character is gay. What matters is that we can see characters that are gay in books where it isn't a big deal. I would love to see more books in which being gay is normal and unremarkable. If this idea takes hold in fiction, it can take hold in society.
* Although, if it's an author doing the "suggesting," can it really be called a suggestion?