While there are many great things about Harry Potter, it falls short in the queer department. Thankfully, I’ve spent many a night imagining the love lives of the many fantastic women in Harry Potter. I find myself writing fan fiction in my head about some of the ladies of Hogwarts, and what they got up to once finally they got sick of the atrocities that are teenage boys. So here are the Harry Potter characters, ranked by lesbianism. Wingardium LEZiosa!
Okay, okay, hear me out. I know I’ve chosen to lead this list with arguably one of the straightest Harry Potter characters out there. As soon as Ginny is introduced to us, she’s totally starstruck by Harry, spending the first couple of books swooning silently over him, before going on a make-out spree with as many Gryffindor boys as she can get her lips on, only to finally settle down (at, one assumes, like, 17… come on, JKR!), and marry The Boy Who Lived. Not exactly a contender for lesbian of the year. But I personally project something kinda gay in Ginny’s huge insistence on heterosexuality in her teen years. To put it frankly, she reminds me a little of myself, especially once she blossoms into her firecracker self starting around Book 5 or so. I kissed a lot of dudes before I realized I liked kissing ladies too. And I’m wishing Ginny Weasley the sexual awakening I had once I turned 22.
First of all, Pansy Parkinson was way too femme in the movies. With a name like Pansy Parkinson, I’m sorry, I can only see a tortured butch trying to fit herself into the heteronormative role that an uptight British boarding school forces on her. (Magic or no magic, you can’t convince me that Hogwarts was some paragon of progress and tolerance—even Dumbledore didn’t come out until after the series was over. And by then, he was dead!) Pansy Parkinson fixates on Draco (who is also hella gay, and no, you can’t change my mind) and his evil high femme energy. But we all know that she’s secretly in unrequited love with ultimate straight girl Hermione Granger. Remember in Book 2, when Pansy put her in a headlock? Totes flirting. And now you can’t unsee it.
Padma was barely in the book, only being whipped into existence in Book 4 as Parvati Patil’s sudden twin sister, to serve as a date to the Yule Ball with Ron. I’m convinced that shortly after this, she came out to her sister and her dorm mates in a fit of fury for having been so poorly treated by Ron, who was an absolute beast to her.
Luna Love good wouldn’t identify as a lesbian, IMO. And though in the movies it’s hinted at that she ends up with Neville Longbottom, Luna doesn’t strike me as the type to identify as bisexual, either. I think Luna is pansexual, meaning that she’s attracted to “people, not parts” (or, that gender doesn’t really weigh in for her as something she considers when considering who she is attracted to), and possibly demisexual, meaning that she needs to have a strong emotional affinity for a person first before experiencing sexual attraction. Maybe this is me stereotyping the cerebral-ness of Luna (and Ravenclaw house more generally), but I feel like sexual and romantic attraction for Luna are things that happen rarely, under the most particular of circumstances, and needs to be treated as gently as an Erumpent horn.
This one goes almost without saying, and I feel like a hack for even writing it, because everything about Tonks (and her canonical relationship with Remus Lupin) is coded super, super queer. Tonks is obviously genderqueer, though I suspect the wizarding world, much like our actual Muggle world, wouldn’t have known how to describe Tonks in the early 2000s. (She’s described as a Metamorphmagus in the books, though this says nothing about her gender identity.) And Lupin and Sirius are second perhaps only to Harry and Draco when it comes to how much slash fiction is written about them. Lupin’s social marginalization has been interpreted by some fans to be reminiscent of the stigma faced by those who have HIV, a metaphor JKR also confirmed on Pottermore. Unfortunately, this makes their deaths in the book even harder for queer readers to bear—can’t we have any nice things without authors killing them off for straight reader tears?—and makes their significance to the fandom all the greater.
PROFESSOR SPROUT, MADAM PINCE, MADAM POMFREY, & MADAM HOOCH
Much like Dumbledore was in the closet until the series ended, and JKR didn’t have to worry about bigoted families forgoing buying her books (sorry, I’m cynical today), it’s my firm belief that this above-mentioned quartet is super, super gay. And I’m talking like, it’s the 1960’s, everyone of every gender is wearing eyeliner, and we’re hiding in someone’s dank enchanted basement drinking stolen Firewhiskey gay. There is not a word that anyone can say to me that will convince me that any of these characters could be even the slightest shade of straight. Professor Sprout is almost too easy, and Madam Hooch basically writes herself as a lesbian (and was cast as the golden-eyed soft butch gym teacher of my dreams in the movie). Madam Pince is maybe a little harder to pinpoint. She’s merely an austere and unpleasant presence in Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s lives in the books, hawkishly keeping an eye on them in the library as the stern caretaker of the books. But that’s why I love her, and I love to imagine her letting her hair down after hours and sipping some sherry, maybe even with Sybil Trewlawney, of all people, whose company nobody would guess Madam Pince could enjoy. As for Madam Pomfrey, she’s a total power lesbian medic who is married mostly to her work (though flirts with Professor Sprout over mandrake root recipes), and who will go toe to toe with anyone—professor, parent, or student—who sets a foot in her infirmary. Please, someone, write me a Golden Girls spin-off starring these four.
Probably not gay in public, but try-sexual (as in I’ll-try-anything-once in private, in the way that I imagine most super-famous pop stars to be), and an icon of the gay wizarding scene, for freaking sure.
THE WEIRD SISTERS
In Goblet of Fire, the Weird Sisters perform at the Yule Ball, and are described as “extremely hairy and dressed in black robes that had been artfully ripped and torn.” I didn’t read much beyond that, automatically assuming that since their band name was the Weird Sisters, they must be a band comprised of women or feminine-identifying folks, and I kind of thought they’d be a bit like Ani DeFranco meets Sinead O’Conner meets The Donnas meets Camp Cope.
My total bad: Apparently, the Weird Sisters are a band of wizards! Still, witch or wizard, any band that includes a lute, drums, a cello, guitars, and bagpipes is pretty much the best band ever, and to me, that makes them the gayest.
When I started writing this list, Hermione didn’t immediately come to mind as one of the Potterverse’s queer leading ladies. While I think the whole series could have been even better if it had started with Hermione Granger and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and while I stan Black Hermione like no other, I didn’t immediately envision Queer Hermione. But, thinking about it a little bit more, maybe the hints are there. Like her utter awkwardness with Viktor Krum in the Fourth Book (there was zero chemistry in that relationship), and the disappointing way she settled for selfish, unimpressive Ron Weasley, the boy with the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone—both suggest to me maybe a deeply buried queerness. Queer Hermione is the type to come out late in life, to stay together for the kids, to lose herself in her work for decades after being a central figure in saving the world. Maybe she has a chance meeting with another Weasley beau, Penelope Clearwater, and both witches feel something spark in them that they can’t define. Now, older, wiser, and no longer battling for their lives, they can finally pursue it. It could be a really sad story, but also, for a witch as powerful as Hermione Granger, when she finally does come out, it’s nothing short of magical.