As LGBTQ+ representation is on the rise, fan fiction succeeds in gaining popularity and writing LGBTQ+ characters and relationships. For fans, fan-fiction in popular media is a medium to reflect their identities, filling the void of LGBTQ+ representation. Moreover, gay pairings on mainstream media are rare, and unlike the normal and somewhat intimate portrayal of female friendships, male friendship are depicted as more reserved and without emotional nuance. Therefore, fan-fiction provides more room to write intimate setting between males to portray vulnerability attached with feeling and sexual gratification.
Michael Freeby, a male fashion model, and celebrity fashion photographer, was set to be the latest YA author of a popular book family-friendly series for Helix which was later postponed by the pandemic. But now he is going to release free preview of one of the unreleased books. Here’s what Michael has to share on LGBT+ representation in fan fiction.
Why do you think there is increased gay shipping in fan fiction?
Michael : People obviously like to see themselves in any kind of media, whether it’s television, movies, theater, or books. They like to be able to see themselves they like the characters they can relate to. But in terms of gay shipping, in particular, I am noticing that there are a lot of hetero sexual, young girls, and I guess women of all ages, a lot of them like to see gay characters.
Which audience readS more fan fiction and how they relate themselves to it?
Michael: I’m noticing this increasingly online, that women like to see the gay couples because I feel like a lot of times when women go to clubs, they might get harassed and hit on. This makes it hard for them shift some of these non gay characters, whereas if you’re shipping a gay couple a lot of the women they feel safe, because they are not the type of person who would harass them at the club. So I generally get that kind of vibe and I think that’s cool.
How fan fiction creates a representation for LGBT+ community?
Michael: People do like to see (represent) themselves and of course, the LGBTQ+ community is very diverse. So I feel that obviously with any new portrayal, it opens more doors, it lets more people see more diverse representation. And the more diversity the better, really.
As most of the writers act anonymous, fan fiction has became a place giving freedom to young writers who are yet to explore their sexual expression. The void created by lack of diversity displayed on general media is being filled by fan-fiction which offer representation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals. When individuals fail to see themselves represented, they start writing the personality of their favorite characters according to their desires and needs which the society is impotent to delineate, so they can relate to them.
FEATURED IMAGES VIA THE GUARDIAN AND MICHAEL FREEBY