Fan Fiction and Homonormativity

gravitation-15

[Taken from: http://www.anime-planet.com/images/anime/covers/gravitation-15.jpg

Description: The anime’s name, Gravitation is in the top left hand corner. The image is of two male figures. The blonde man, Yuki, reads more masculine in appearance in comparison to his partner. The other figure named Shuichi, reads more feminine and has pink hair. Yuki’s arm is possessively wrapped around Shuichi’s neck who’s smiling brightly and has both of his hands wrapped around Yuki’s arm.]

I’ve been reading fan fic since I was 14 years old. I remember hearing from a friend about this website called fanfiction.net waaaaaaay back in I think it was 2004? Anyways. I found fan fiction and quickly developed an obsession. (For those who aren’t aware, fan fiction or fan fic, is a story written by fan of and about a TV show, book, movie, band, celebrity, video game, or any other kind of media. This is done as an act of love for the media and is always  unpaid work. Fan communities build community around fan fic as well as drawings, videos, music, and a host of other artistic mediums). Fan fiction was formative in the development of my sexuality and support networks. It was the first space where I felt my desires were validated and was probably the reason why I didn’t get that I was even supposed to be straight for a long time.

I developed my queer community through fandom (the places where fans congregate, often this is in cyberspace). Initially, it was through anime (Japanese animation) culture and anime fan girls who were into yaoi (a Japanese writing genre which means, “boy love” or BL). It was within anime fan culture where I first came out and received support. Yaoi and reading gay romance into stories was and still is wildly popular. I was accepted as a boy who liked boys enthusiastically by my fan girl friends. I was fortunate enough that the vast majority of my fan girl friends ended up being queer too so the space between queerness and fandom bled together. I didn’t notice any problems with the fan cultures I participated in until I reflected on my experiences many years later.

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