The Importance of Queer Headcanons
Everyone wants to be a hero. That’s why fantasy novels are so popular. They allow us to get inside the heads of extraordinary people and pretend, just for a while, that we too are capable of such feats.
However, it’s easier for some people to imagine themselves as their favorite characters than it is for others. For example, a young gay boy will struggle to identify with a hero who falls in love with a girl. And unfortunately, the number of straight characters in popular media far outweighs the number who are canonically queer. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible for queer kids to find themselves in novels like Harry Potter, though. That just means we have to get creative. This is where headcanons come in.
Headcanons are concepts, ideas, or events that were not explicitly stated as true in canon, but rather are the creation of fans, things they’d like to believe. These can range from ideas like Professor Snape drinks his coffee black, to the belief that Aberforth goes to his sister’s grave every year. Headcanons can also revolve around the identities of characters.
The thing is that while most characters are assumed straight, for a lot of them, it’s never explicitly said that they are. After all, maybe Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas really did date, and Harry just never noticed. Sirius is never given a love interest in the books, so he could be gay. And Ginny Weasley never said she wasn’t bi. We don’t know.
For straight readers, this doesn’t matter that much. Maybe the characters are queer, maybe not, but they already have plenty of representation. But for young queer readers, being able to see themselves in the characters they look up to is incredibly exciting. Many times, these kids might feel isolated, that they’re the only ones who feel the way they do. And the dearth of canonically queer characters doesn’t help.
But queer headcanons can help them feel less alone because then they can look at these characters they already relate to and imagine that those characters really are just like them. They can imagine that the fantastical universe of Harry Potter isn’t filled with mostly straight people and one gay character. Instead, they can immerse themselves in their very own version of Hogwarts where the characters have a colorful rainbow of identities.
Therefore, Nymphadora Tonks can be pansexual. Luna Lovegood can be genderqueer. Charlie Weasley can be asexual. And dozens of other characters can all be some flavor of queer. Different people might not see them the same way, but in the end, the only thing that matters is finding a way we can all see ourselves in our heroes.