Transgender identification: slash fiction and the erotics of reception
Since Henry Jenkin's *Textual Poachers* (1992), fans (as makers of fan fiction, fan art, and fan vids) have become a model of the 'active audience', making meanings for themselves by fragmenting and recombining the texts of the mass media and blurring the boundaries between consumption and production, spectatorship and participation. Moreover, fans have a history of eagerly taking up new technologies to produce and distribute creative responses to popular culture, from fan-written Sherlock Holmes and Oz stories in the nineteenth century, through APAs distributing mimeographed zines in the mail in the 1960s and 1970s, to contemporary fan vids made on iMovie and streamed via YouTube. In this paper, I will give a brief overview of contemporary fandom, explaining some of the changes that have taken place over the last decade or so as fandom has embraced new technologies of community-building and art-making. Giving examples of fan art, videos, and fiction written by young people, I will give an account of the possibilities that fan practices offer young people, in terms of the development of individual skills and of connection with global communities. I will also sketch some of the specific difficulties and opportunities encountered by young people in online media fandom.
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