History of Slash (2018 essay)

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Title: History of Slash (Tumblr Essay)
Creator: 70thousandlightyearsfromhome
Date(s): July 21, 2018
Medium: Tumblr
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The History of Slash is a July 21, 2018 Tumblr post by 70thousandlightyearsfromhome.

Some Topics Discussed

The Essay

Been reading the Slash Controversies section of Fanlore. I’m a long time fan, but some of this stuff is from way before my time, even. Mary Lou Dodge’s outrage over smut at Trek cons, for example.

Slash was still controversial in the mid to late ‘80s, when I got really involved in fandom. But the battles over whether it should be allowed at cons were more or less over. There were slash-only cons by then, but fan cons in general permitted slash. I’m told because slash fans were such a big part of fandom, they just couldn’t afford to exclude them, even if the con organizers disapproved of slash and would rather not allow it.

I remember discussing fanfic awards at a con once, with someone who was outraged that there were separate gen and slash categories. “Slash writers shouldn’t get special treatment,” she proclaimed. A couple of other fans explained that having separate categories was actually to protect the gen writers. Gen stories tended to lose to slash stories, because there were so many slash fans, and “slashers read across fandoms.” While gen fans tended to stick with their personal favorite fandom(s), slash fans often read (and voted for) slash in any fandom they found it in.

That wasn’t me. I tend to fall deeply in love with a fandom and/or character, and read everything I can find in that fandom, gen or slash. But I knew a lot of slash fans who fit the description. I used to zine-shop for friends at MediaWest. (People who couldn’t make it to the con would ask those who were going to buy zines for them, either giving them the money upfront or promising to pay them back later.) The slash fans often asked me to buy them slash in any fandom, as long as it was new.

And I didn’t know David Gerrold hated slash. As recently as 2013, he reiterated his feelings about K/S. He’s gay, so I thought he’d be a little more tolerant. His characterizing slash fans as “fat ladies with a sexual dysfunction” seems just a tad misogynist.

Though come to think of it, that’s not that unusual. A lot of gay men seemed perplexed and even offended at the idea of straight women writing gay smut. That changed, IME, in the ‘90s, when the Internet made it a lot easier for gay guys to find slash, and become a part of it. Minotaur‘s willingness to answer slash writers’ questions about m/m sex (and his good humor about it) made him popular both online and at cons.

He ended up writing in many fandoms, but his first was Voyager - in particular, Paris/Kim. Though his first story was more Kim/Ayala than P/K. # slash #fandom meta #david gerrold #fandom history #minotaur]

Reactions/Responses

[kronette reblogged olderthannetfic]

Minotaur was a godsend to us, and a wonderful man.

[veronica-rich reblogged kronette]

Minotaur proved what impact you can have with positivity rather than just bitching and throwing shade all the time.

[systlin reblogged veronica-rich]

Ahh, this took me back.

[blame-my-muses reblogged systlin]

man, I was just thinking about Minotaur a few days ago. I don’t even know if his site is still up, but it was so crucial to my younger self. I grew up in a small town--the internet was my first introduction to lgbt things, and Minotaur and fandom was the gateway. #fanthropology

[thebibliosphere reblogged systlin]

Ugh, I still remember when he died. It was like a mass grieving across the fandoms. I was only 22 and I forget exactly how I ended up on his lj but he was just so damn open and funny and willing to talk about things that were rarely talked about in a healthy and informative manner. His writing taught me a lot, both in terms of basic human anatomy but also just how to tell a damn good story.

[unrealromance reblogged thebibliosphere]

Gay men uncomfortable with straight women fetishizing them. Go figure.

[levynite reblogged thebibliosphere]

Aw Minotaur

[fanfichasruinedmylife reblogged barbex]

Minotaur was amazing, and I say this as someone who only really knew his work in fandom. I remember coming across this web page in the early 00s and being simply awed by what it had to offer. #reblogged fanfic meta #my links #fandom history #smallville #Whitney Fordman #DC

[toobasementpanda]

DO YOU KNOW HOW FAR I GOT INTO THIS POST BEFORE I REALIZED IT WAS ABOUT GAY FANFICS? I WAS SO CONFUSED ABOUT SLASH FROM GUNS 'N ROSES BEING CONTROVERSIAL.

[alixsinclair-emt reblogged kronette]

Minotaur loved answering questions of any type and he had a fantastic sense of humor. He did a wonderful panel at BasCon about various positions and what can and can't be used for lube. 😁😁

[alixsinclair-emt]

@fanfichasruinedmylife], that is why they left his site up after he passed away.

[4896milesfromhome reblogged thebibliosphere]

Raising a ass*** tonight in memory and honor of Uncle Minotaur ***this was a typo where my phone was to slow to pick up the gl for "glass" and I was about to fix it when I realized he would have loved it this way so I left it.

[headstomp] reblogged thebibliosphere]

I didn't know Minotaur had passed, and learning this just hit me like a punch to the face. His site was so instrumental to a younger, more confused, still very curious me, and although I barely touched on most of his work beyond the tips for slash writers, I'm not surprised at all to learn of the impact he had. Prior to his guide and works like it, it was really a Wild Wild West out in the 'how does this even work' world of non-cis-gay-men writing slashfic.

[gnollgirl reblogged thebibliosphere]

Mostly reblogging to keep the history circulating... I’d totally forgotten about Minotaur. ...and this is the first time I’d heard of MediaWest via someone who didn’t live in the area. I’ve been once. (And I’ve met one of the missing stairs there.)

[gryphonrhi reblogged emyrys]

Oh god. Minotaur would have laughed so much about that! (And been so proud of you.) Anyone else remember his list of ‘things you should not use as lube?’ Still miss his cheer. #fandom #fannish history #Minotaur

[churchofpoetry]

Oh yeah. Don't use blood, shampoo, etc. etc.

[dreamtiger-s reblogged madmaudlingoes]

Always reblog fandom history.

[allsortsoflicorice reblogged cameoamalthea]

That is a great story and a true testament to his legacy. He did so much good.

[alleyallergy reblogged fiction-is-not-reality]

RIP Minotaur

[rsasai reblogged ardwynna]

Minotaur was someone I remember teaching me about Sex when I was first starting to write. His funny, remarkable, and helpful words resonate with me even now.

[kissing-monsters reblogged saxifraga-x-urbium]

Oh man, I read Minotaur’s full website of how-gay-sex way back in the day. Sad to hear he passed.

[trust-omni reblogged huntypastellance]

Man, Minotaur seemed like a good guy. Wish i known him sooner #fandom history #fandom #slash

[aylathebunny reblogged yogi-bogey-box]

I was a teen in Hercules fandom when I first found Minotaur's guide. I had read m/m slash, but he made a passing reference to f/f slash and my brain broke. I hadn't realised that that was possible. (Legit, I thought Xena and Gabby were Gal Being Pals.) I literally had no clue that lesbian relationships were a thing (also, I had no idea divorce was a thing until 7th grade for the same reasons:) because I had no examples in my (yes, fairly sheltered if way liberal) life. I had het relationships...

[teabq reblogged calystarose]

Minotaur was a GIFT. Beyond his lessons for writers, I will always remember him saying we must never forget all the flamboyant gays, drag queens, and butchest of dykes who took the beatings so that the rest of us could have rights. #fandom history #slash #Minotaur #LGBT #LGBT history #also him pointing out how useful the height difference between a hobbit and a human could be #that's another fond memory

[noregretsnotearsnoanxieties reblogged fibrochemist]

I never read Minotaur's blog specifically for help writing slash works (as my own writing tends to veer to femslash, het and gen) but I had his blog bookmarked as my first resource to give anyone writing slash fic when I started making lists of fic writing resources for some of my open pairing fic communities. He was just awesome. #fandom history #i am such a fandom old

[meeedeee reblogged savedmeta]

My favorite memory of Minotaur is being roped by him into room party at Bascon (a slash convention held in San Francisco) where he and I kept beaming fanfic to one another via our new Palm Pilots (it was a thing back then). He insisted I overcome my dislike of RPS by having me read out loud an Iron Chef RPS story. And taught me that you can connect to more people by beaming your joy and enthusiasm into the void. #fandom history #my fandom history #life lessons

References