I hadn't thought about my sexual orientation in oh, nigh seven years or more until fandoms. That was when I discovered that fanfiction was divided into three essential categories--het (heterosexual), slash(homosexual), and gen (for "general" and apparantly asexual). Why the divisions based on sex? Why not. Sex makes up a good part of the internet and can dominate the sleeping and waking consciousness of many fandom-age people (generalization, yes, yes--I've said goodbye to my 20's but we know that a lot of the cos-playing, fic-writing, figurine-collecting fandom population is younger--at least in my fandoms).
It was upon discovering these writing divisions based on sex (rather than canon filler and alternative universe, or angst versus high comedy) that I also discovered my writing orientation was bi. Great. I'd gotten pretty itchy in my sweater when I was an open bisexual in college; the women's groups (largely lesbian) had members who didn't trust bi women (we're "only experimenting" and never to be taken seriously when looking for a relationship) and any man who found out you were a bisexual assumed that you were a PAR-TEE girl and did you want to meet his girlfriend?
The first yaoi vs het wars I knew of were in the Dragonball Z fandom where apparently, much craziness had been launched over the years and many bodies of fanfic writers lay at abandoned archives and websites. Some of the ongoing conflicts were pissing me off--especially since writers tended to segregate themselves into either a het or a yaoi community. A friend and I started a board where we invited yaoi friends and het friends and, amazingly, the board took off. Maybe because it was there mostly to discuss writing and not whether women who write yaoi are "emotionally immature" and women who write het haven't gotten "in touch with their inner sexual subconsciousness. " As a mod, though, I heard some wacko things--Omg that avatar is gay and offends me because I can't scroll by it like I can gay subject lines and known gay authors." or "YAOI is just about the sex--can't we have a yaoi romance? No, these women just want to write about sex, sex, sex."
The Bleach fandom was a relief when I entered it a little over two years ago. People seemed marvelously supportive of one another and fans didn't segregate cleanly into sexual orientations. It wasn't unusual to hear someone list fairing pairings that included an equal number of yaoi ones to het ones. THEN....
I started writing and I started paying more attention to fan responses. My inner peacemaker and egalitarian hippie heart were always touched when someone wrote "Yours is the first yaoi story I've read--I didn't think I'd like it but I did" or "You made me read het! It wasn't so bad!" But then I started to sense the negativity--resentments and mumblings from yaoi people when I raved about my favorite pairings ( look, I write Ishida gay and straight, but I prefer him straight--is that a moral crime?) and upturned lips from some het readers (oh, okay, you like some weird pairings....) I discovered that there was a sort of political correctness one had to follow in the fandom lest remarks be misconstrued as anti-yaoi or anti-het. The sore feelings were still there, just under the surface.
I know, I know. Ignore those plebes, you say. The backwards unenlightened ones who interfere with your enjoyment of fic from all sexual orientations. Nah, I'm so sensitive. My itchy sweater acted up again. I caught myself in hypocrisies--for example, I will loudly defend the right of any writer to post any and all explicit sex scenes, even shota, on the internet. But I was loud about my personal squicks--eeeew, incest.
I'd read it, even review it positively on occasion but eeeww. I'd actually type that--I mean, I didn't understand that if someone wrote that about something I'd written, I'd feel a little bad. I scrolled by the stories with warnings that I knew well to listen to, but I had this OBSESSION with incest. Maybe because there were so few stories being written about one of my favorite characters (Ishida Ryuuken) that I just had to read the incest ones. And rape--geez, I had issues with rape, from a feminist's pov, from a personal pov, from a pov that looked only at literal trends. I wrote so many rape fics. Erocticized and non-eroticized. Yet I hated rape fics.
Personal exorcisms, maybe. But it's seemed I was saying badfic is great, everyone is free to post whatever while simultaneously advocating rape fic should be written this way, a conscientious torture fic goes like so...
In all those psych tests, I score bisexual right near the middle of the scale. I'm married to a man and occasionally we both eye the same girl walking down the street and laugh about it. But the fact is, I've made a decision to go with "one side." (the politcally incorrect side too, some say--Max and I wondered if we should be legally married when legal marriage was still being denied GLBT couples, but we were weanies who caved to parental expectations). On occasion, it feels like I have to choose a "side" in fanfic too. Friends are mostly in one area or the other and very few congregate in the center of the Venn diagram.
It's either John Holt or Ghandi who said one must imagine the world one wants to live in and then start living as though it is that way. I do this to a large extent--so many of my family's personal ways are non-mainstream (vegetarianism, homeschooling, etc, etc, that hippie stuff).
But to pretend that every thing is hunky dory and that people don't dislike other people for the dumbest of reasons is to be naive. I foolishly want to be liked by everyone; I give most people the benefit of a doubt so why shouldn't they be like moi? I try to venture out of my comfort zone when writing a fic--that act takes me deeper and deeper into my squicks and sexual subconscious. I think that's a great ride--and yet I expect all writers to be okay with that scary venture. I write a fanfic---if it's het, I expect certain readers to respond. If it's yaoi--I expect other readers to. I know I can't change the tastes/preferences/orientations of readers--but isn't that a little sad? That segregations exist at all, I mean.
Eh. The spoilers for the next Bleach chapter are out. I'm torn between wanting to write some rocking Renji/Ishida yaoi or a sweet, sugar-cone IshiHime.