|Slash, Femslash, Aro Fandom, Asexuality and Fandom, Sapphic Fandom, Mspec Fandom, Trans Characters in Fandom, Gender and Fandom, Homophobia in Fandom, Transphobia in Fandom, Queercoding, Queerbaiting
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
Fandom and the exploration of queerness have long gone hand in hand, whether in the form of slash, femslash or the multitude of other fanworks, discussions, metas and communities created by or about queer folk that have existed within the world of fandom.
Implicit vs. Explicit
Though many source texts will make it clear the specific identity a queer character uses, in other cases, the texts themselves won't specify the exact sexuality of a character. This is particularly common in fandoms whose source texts have family friendly target audiences.
For example, two characters – Mulan and Ruby – from Once Upon A Time is never specified on screen. With Mulan the headcanons differ between whether she's bi or a lesbian, and with Ruby Lucas's, though given her onscreen relationships with both men and women, most people assume she's bi. However even with that context, headcanons of her being a lesbian will occasionally surface, often due to reflecting issues such as internalised lesbophobia or heteronormativity.
Queer Fandom encompasses a wide range of groups and people. Subcommunities relating to different sub-groups of the queer/LGBTQ+ community exist:
Some fandoms are known for having a larger queer following than others, whether intentionally or not. Many of these are known to be key examples of queer media or an important part of queer fandom culture:
- It's A Sin
- Pose (TV series)
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
- Steven Universe
- Dead End: Paranormal Park
- Queer Advocacy and Slash Fandom: Then and Now (2012-2013?) by lierdumoa - Multiple Fandoms
- Queer and Disturbing - A Dispatch from the Tolkien Fandom (July 2003) by tyellas - Tolkienverse
- On Canon, Authorial Authority, and Queer Representation (January 2013) by idvo - Multiple Fandoms
- Star Wars, queer representation and the mainstreaming of slash by Elizabeth Minkel - Star Wars
- The Revolutionary Power Of Fanfiction For Queer Youth by Jane Hu - General Fandom
- BiPositive: Queerdom: How Fandoms Help Develop Queer Identities (2018) by Mari and MD - Multiple Fandoms
- Slash Vidding: Editing and Media Representation (2018) by Lucia Gilbert - Multiple Fandoms
Communities & Websites
- Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Characters on Star Trek - a 12-year saga of deceit, lies, excuses and broken promises - Star Trek
Assimilation vs. Liberation
The issue around the politics of assimilation and liberation in relation to the LGBTQ+/Queer community is a complex one, and one that inevitably influences both the canon representation available, as well as the many ways in which queer fandom itself manifests.
- Assimiliation is the concept that queer folk should be accepted into the society as is, and encouraged to integrate into the dominant culture. Assimiliation is associated with more liberal or moderate positions.
- Liberation is the concept that queer folk should be accepted, but not in a way that forces queer culture and identity to be suppressed or played down, and in a way that doesn't attempt to appease the domiant culture, or does so at the expense of more marginalised members of the community. Liberation is associated with more leftist or radical positions, advocating for bigger, societal changes in order to ensure the freedom of queer folk.
The influence of queer politics, such as this, on fandom is numerous. Many fandoms with source materials produced by and for the mainstream, such as the MCU or Star Wars, are often likely to include representation that leans towards assimilation, rather than liberation. Some fans will argue that much of the canon media representation is often designed to be palatable to the normative structures of society.
However there are many nuances to this issue, least of all due to the Western centred narrative regarding both queerness and fandom, and the influence that has on many of the discussions had.
As it applies to fandom, and specifically queer fandom, many fans have pointed out some of the ways in which oppression and systemic bigotry affect the ways in which queer fans interact with fandom, and the struggles existing in these spaces. For example:
- Fandom preferances for white queerness rather than the queerness of POC, and some of the alienation that comes from that.
- Infiltration of TERFs into fandom spaces and the effects on trans fans.
Bury Your Gays
- Queerness on New Planets - by Ellen Welsh - Ursula K. Le Guin
- LGBTQ+ Ships Zine - a multifandom anthology zine (2020)
- Sunshine through the Clouds - a DC Comics charity anthology, dedicated to celebrating the canon LGBT+ characters in DC Comics (2022)
- Total Drama Pride Month Collab, a collaborative effort in Total Drama fandom to draw fanart featuring queer headcanons of every significant Total Drama character (110~ total.)
- Homoerotic Subtext and TPTB
- Queer Het
- Stage Gay
- Woke Up Gay
- List of LGBTQ-Focused Conventions