Asexual Awareness: Protect Charlie Weasley at All Costs
A couple of weeks ago, MuggleNet staff member Amy wrote about Remus Lupin and incurable conditions for Invisible Illness Awareness Week. This inspired me to write something for Asexual Awareness Week, which runs from October 19 through October 25. Prepare to be aware!
I think we all remember the shock of J.K. Rowling’s reveal that Dumbledore was gay. Since then, there has been a lot tossed around about queer representation in the Harry Potter world.* Some people think that Dumbledore is a great representation, others think not so much. Of course, Jo made this announcement about eight years ago and started writing the books about 25 years ago (I know! That long!). Things have changed since then. Maybe if Jo were writing the books today, it would have been more obvious in the text that Dumbledore was gay. Or maybe there would be a few other queer characters that are blatantly labeled as such in the Potter world.
Which brings me to Charlie Weasley. Here’s a conversation from the 2007 documentary J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life.
JKR: “Charlie didn’t have children or marriage.”
JR: “Is he gay?”
JKR: “Dumbledore’s gay. I told a reader that once, and I thought she was gonna slap me. But I always saw Dumbledore as gay. Um, no, I don’t think Charlie’s gay. Just more interested in dragons than women.”
So that pretty much changed everything.
Because not only was Albus Dumbledore—one of the most prominent characters in the most popular children’s series in the world—gay, but Charlie Weasley was more interested in dragons than women. Which is as close to a confirmation of a Harry Potter character being asexual as we’re ever going to get.
Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction. Now, there are a lot of terms surrounding asexuality. There’s romantic attraction, sensual attraction, aesthetic attraction, demisexuality, gray-asexuality… These are all very important but can be a little overwhelming for someone new to the idea, so I’ll direct you to this page of asexuality.org, which has succinct definitions for all of these things. The one you’ll probably hear about most, though, is romantic attraction, which is the desire to be romantically involved with someone, but not necessarily sexually involved.
I know, you’re thinking, “What do you mean asexuals don’t experience sexual attraction?” I would counter that with “What do you mean allosexuals do?” (Then you would ask, “What’s allosexual?” and I would say, “Anyone who experiences sexual attraction,” but I digress.) I have no idea what sexual attraction feels like, and apparently, it’s really difficult to define! I’m asexual; I’ve known that for years now. Before I realized asexuality was a thing, I thought everyone was exaggerating about having crushes on people. Yes, that’s how a lot of asexuals think! But a lot of asexuals also don’t have an experience as simple as this. Instead, they’re isolated and made fun of; they feel as if something is wrong with them. It takes many asexuals well into adulthood to realize that they’re not broken, that there are other people out there like them. Part of the reason this realization is so difficult is because there’s little to no representation out there.
That’s why Charlie Weasley is so important. A nice, handsome young man who cares more about dragons than women? That’s awesome! I care more about dragons than men. There’s someone out there like me!
It’s grasping at straws, I know. Does J.K. Rowling know what asexuality is? Maybe by now, eight years after mentioning that Charlie doesn’t get married, she does. Would she agree that Charlie is asexual? I don’t know, but I hope so. I can’t imagine having this character taken away from me. That would be heart-wrenching, actually. Asexual characters in fiction are so difficult to come by that I take pretty much anything I can get…
Oh, no, I’d love to go with you as friends!” said Luna, beaming as he had never seen her beam before. “Nobody’s ever asked me to a party before, as a friend! Is that why you dyed your eyebrow, for the party? Should I do mine too?” – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Luna Lovegood, who cares more about friends than anything else? Heteroromantic asexual.
Katniss Everdeen, more interested in saving her sister than her own love triangle? Aromantic asexual (or aroace for short, which is also a great pun).
Sherlock Holmes, who thinks love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason that he places above all things? Asexual, despite how often Hollywood tries to shoehorn him a love interest.**
Daryl Dixon, heartthrob of The Walking Dead despite never showing romantic interest in anyone? Called asexual by the creator of the show! I don’t know if Robert Kirkman really knows what asexuality is, but that one threw me for a loop, and now I’m hanging on for dear life.
Representation is so important. It helps people feel less alone. It gives them the strength to be who they are. I don’t know if J.K. Rowling realizes what she has done for not only gay people but for asexual people, too, but I want to thank her. I made myself a little movement called Protect Charlie Weasley at All Costs. I never thought a minor character who works with dragons would mean so much to me, but he really does, and I am prepared to defend him to the ends of the Earth.
I hope all asexuals have had a great Asexual Awareness Week, and I hope everyone else is a little bit more aware. This is the most public I’ve ever been about my asexuality, and it’s kind of freaking me out, but I hope it helps a few of you out there be more comfortable with yourselves! You are all magical.***
*I use the term “queer” here as a reclaiming of the word, though I am aware of the negative connotations associated with it. I prefer it as a catch-all term over LGBTQIA+ because that is so often exclusionary toward asexuals either because people think “A” stands for “ally” or because the short version (LGBT) is only ever used.
**I’m so obsessed with this headcanon that I made a Sherlock Holmes web series in which I play an aromantic asexual Sherlock Holmes. It’s called The Adventures of Jamie Watson (and Sherlock Holmes), and you can watch the first season on YouTube.
***Even as magical as dragons. And dragons are pretty rad.