I've been thinking a bit about this. I don't know what I think slash is. At one end of the spectrum, I think it's fan-written fiction about media characters of the same gender in a romantic and/or sexual relationship. At the other end of the spectrum, I think it's a community-building exercise. Maybe the latest incarnation of the troubadour tradition, or a reclaiming of female sexuality, or just a really good writers' workshop.
A pretty cool toy?
A very self-aware fiction genre?
I got involved with the genre, the concept, rather than with a fandom. Not that I'm free of fandom obsessions... but it wasn't a specific pairing that drew me to slash, it was the *idea* of doing this, of taking a text and changing the reading of it, using it as a source rather than accepting it as a product. I'd been doing similar things in my head at times, but it was fascinating to me to find all these people who were doing the same thing, doing it more or less *together*, creating overlapping communal worlds of alternate interpretations.
When I found slash on the net a few years ago, I just thought I'd found something moderately amusing. I was wrongwhat I really found was a community. I found friends. The first thing I thought when I read slash was, hm, I can write this. The second thing was, hm, these people think like I do, I have to talk to them. And so I didbothand I'm having a wonderful time still doing it.