1) Do any of you see "fan" as part of your identity (or one of your identities)? Either way, what are your reasons? Have you made this identity public? Again, reasons?
2) For those of you that read or write slash, chan, or have a particular affinity for any other type of romantic/sexual relationship in fanfic, ditto all of the questions above.
In case anyone's interested, here's my response to Cathexys's question about taking slash as the basis of a sexual identity:
I may have said all this before, but to me, slasher as sexual identity hinges on one, very specific social phenomenon. Whether or not someone who reads/writes/discusses/gets off on slash thinks of these practices as a manifestation (or cause) of a social role, underlying social or sexual identity, or any other stable, "real" part of themselves is totally individual. What is overarching (at least to my mind) is the kind of judgments that will generally be made if you talk openly about your participation in these practices. Some people will be unphased, or take you at face value, but I believe that most people will take involvement with and enjoyment of slash as a manifestation of (deviant) sexual desire or practices, in turn a manifestation of certain (deviant) socialization or psychological processes, and thereby infer a (deviant) psychological/social/sexual identity onto the one-who-slashes.
Which may be the way all minority identities are created, or at least all minority sexual identities. It's certainly what happened in the Victorian Era, when science took the temporary abberation of the sodomite and made the species of the homosexual. It's also a perfect example of what psychology calls the fundamental attribution error: we attribute our own actions to situational factors, the actions of others to dispositional factors.
So whether or not you, on a personal level, see slasher as an sexual identity is up to you. My point is that, if you make your involvement with slash public on a large scale, some people will construct identities for you because of it, whether you want them or not, and act toward you accordingly. If enough of us go public on a large enough scale, "slasher" will eventually be constructed into a subcultural (if not fully a sexual) identity. And I'm a bit too uneasy with identity politics to feel confident that this is something I want.
[She asked me to clarify what I meant by the fundamental attribution error.]
In this case, the fundamental attribution error comes when someone else looks at you and says, "She likes [x] because she's [y]," where y is an identity or trait. When we participate in identity politics ("yes, damn you, I AM [y], so you can just get used to it!"), we're essentially validating the original attribution by reifying x into (part of) an identity. Which is why I'm hesitant about the idea of, personally, "coming out" as a slasher. Yes, there is the whole issue of backlash, and I'm not going to lie and pretend it doesn't worry me. But then there's the part of me that doesn't feel that for me it is an identity, the part of me that's getting a little weary of announcing all the new (gendered/sexual) elements of my life as they surface and choosing/discarding/adding terms to match, and (most crucially for this particular discussion) the part of me that wonders if taking on yet another identity to publicly mobilize around is really, on a long-term scale, going to do me or anyone else any good.
When I run the hypothetical math in my head, the equation always looks something like this: "come out" as a "slasher," and you're reinscribed as a deviant, a minority, by "non-slashers" (who don't exist as such until the "slasher" does). Once you've been inscribed into that identity, you might as well work to change the status, connotations, and roles that identity carries for the better, but at the end of that struggle, are you happier than you were when you had a set of practices you enjoyed with no name to go with them? Moreover, are all of the other "slashers" and "non-slashers" better for your reinscription?
If I find I'm actively hiding my involvement in fan culture and slash fiction and the effort becomes draining, I'll quit hiding. I've done it before. But in the meantime, the idea of having all the explanatory conversations is just ... tiring, and I'm not sure I'd feel like I'd accomplished something good afterward.
I don't want to invalidate anyone else's claiming "slasher" as a sexual identity, either publicly or privately. If it's important to you, do it, and I'll be cheering loudly for you all the way. But for me, personally, it's not a choice whose ramifications appeal to me right now.