Fanfiction and the Omegaverse
Padlock IconThis article is only a portion of the full article. If you are already a premium subscriber please login. If you are not a premium subscriber, please subscribe for access to all of our content.

Published in: July-August 2023 issue.


WHEN I first encountered fanfiction in the mid-aughts, I’d never considered that I could be queer, kind of in the same way I’d never considered that I could be a fish. It would have felt a bit silly to think about it, you know? A little dramatic. God only knows what unholy google search found me on, but the experience was like being tipped out of a lonely fishbowl and into the ocean. No barriers, no direction, way wetter than I’d anticipated. It was only when coming face to face with another fish that it occurred to me to start wondering about what the heck I was.

            Defenses of fanfiction have been made on its creative merits, on its transformative merits, on its god-why-do-we-need-to-defend-enjoying-stuff merits, but one of the most important needs that “fic” meets is its ability to provide a low-risk space for people who are questioning their identity to explore it in a new way. It sounded like an innocuous enough hobby when my mother asked why I was spending so much time on the computer, and the combination of Japanese loan words and fandom slang meant that anyone seeing “H/D shounen-ai lemon” in my browser history was mostly just going to be confused. Having a space where I could engage in queer content and speak with queer people was such a vital component of my personal journey, I’m genuinely not sure how long it would have taken me to get started without it.

            Given the freedom inherent in the medium—it’s no-cost, it’s easy, and it’s relatively anonymous to sign up—fanfiction could be a place for exploring queerness, and for pushing its boundaries. When the only constraints on what you can write are in what coding you can force AO3 (Archive of Our Own, a fanfiction repository) to accept, there’s a lot of room to get creative in our interpretation and expression of What Queerness Is. It also creates a space like no other for people to dig into sex and the body. Theoretically, fanfiction is a transformative medium: you take a story that already exists and make new work out of it, or in spite of it, or in conversation with it.

Clarke and Lexa or “Clexa” fanfiction takes place in the Harry Potter universe. Image Source: InsurgentOutcast—DeviantArt.

To continue reading this article, please LOGIN or SUBSCRIBE

Hannah Matthews is a writer based in New Zealand who contributes to, an online e-zine, from which this article has been adapted (posted July 7, 2022).


Read More from Hannah Matthews