Many Roads to Love
Sexual Identity Formation in Slash Fiction
Since the 1990s, scholars and researchers from various backgrounds have studied and argued about fan fiction. While many researchers now agree that fan fiction, and especially homoerotic slash fiction, can be seen as queer fiction aiming to deconstruct seemingly heteronormative popular media texts, a more nuanced reading of slash fiction has been lacking. Slash fiction has popularly been believed to “queer” heterosexual characters or place the characters in a sort of queer utopia where the line between homosocial and homoerotic is drawn in water and homophobia seldom gets in the way of the lovers. is article o ers a more nuanced view of slash fiction and how slash fans write queer characters. Drawing from contemporary sexual identity formation studies, this article outlines three categories, or tropes, which fans often use in their texts. Closely reading three slash texts from three different fandoms, I highlight some of the various ways slash writers discuss sexual diversity, homophobia, historical and contemporary views of homosexuality and the many roads people take in forming their sexual identities.