I got a long email the other day. It turns out it’s from the same blogger who thinks I’m a sad little man who longs to write fanfiction. She writes, in part:
I am a fanfiction writer, a slash fanfiction writer at that, I am not as illustrious or ambitious or zealous as some but I am glad to be one. I am as proud to be a slash fanfiction writer as I am to a lesbian and let me tell you it is very much the same feeling.
[…]At fifteen I bumped into my very first piece of fanfiction and it was like a bolt of lightening and then a few weeks later when I read my first piece of slash- its was very much like the first time I ever consider that I might be gay. It’s that monumental feeling of freedom, of knowledge; you finally know why the world seems a little off.
[…]My point is that fanfiction to you and (I’ll be presumptuous and say) I get the impression writing is too, nothing more than a hobby or a job and there’s nothing wrong with that. But you have to understand that for a lot of fans this writing helps shape who they are.
[…]Do you hate gay people Mr. Goldberg? I don’t think that you do, even if you just objected to slash fanfiction, I still would not think that. But what is the difference between what you do and a father who tells his 15 year old son it’s not okay to be gay? If there is one I can’t see it and you can hide behind all the copyright laws that you wish, but I assure you it will be no different then how the church hides behind over-zealously translated bible script.
Why is it that the people who write & publish fanfic feel that if I oppose what they are doing I must be either homophobic or have no passion for writing myself?
I love writing and am passionate about it. I’m extremely fortunate that it’s also how I make my living and support my family, too. But believe it or not, loving to write…and making money doing it…aren’t mutually exclusive.
But now by opposing fanfiction, I’m not just a passionless hack who writes only for the money…I am also preventing people from discovering their sexuality.
Call me crazy, but I think there are lots of ways you can discover and explore your sexuality without taking characters you didn’t create or own, writing stories about them, and publishing them on the web without the author’s permission. It’s one thing to write fanfic for yourself to fantastize about or as a writing exercise, it’s another when you publish and/or post the stories on the web without the original authors’ consent.
I believe it’s theoretically possible that women will still discover that they are lesbians without writing and publishing/posting stories about Buffy and Xena exploring the joys of sapphic love together…and that men might continue to discover their gay selves without writing and publishing/posting stories about Harry Potter giving Ron blowjobs…