Radical Faeries

Radical Faeries with banner at 2010 London Gay Pride.
Faeries at Breitenbush gathering.

Radical Faeries (also Faeries and Faes) are a loosely affiliated worldwide network of people seeking to reject hetero-imitation and redefine queer identity through spirituality. The Radical Faerie movement started in the United States among gay men during the 1970s sexual and counterculture revolution.[1] The movement has expanded in tandem with the larger gay rights movement, challenging commercialization and patriarchal aspects of modern LGBT life while celebrating pagan constructs and rituals.[2] Faeries tend to be fiercely independent, anti-establishment, and community-focused.[2] Faerie culture is undefinable as a group; however, it has similar characteristics as "Marxism, feminism, paganism, Native American and New Age spirituality, anarchism, the mythopoetic men's movement, radical individualism, the therapeutic culture of self-fulfillment and self-actualization, earth-based movements in support of sustainable communities, spiritual solemnity coupled with a camp sensibility, gay liberation and drag." [3]

Radical Faeries today embody a wide range of genders, sexual orientations, and identities. Many sanctuaries and gatherings are open to all, while some still focus on the particular spiritual experience of man-loving men co-creating temporary autonomous zones.[4] Faerie sanctuaries adapt rural living and environmentally sustainable concepts to modern technologies as part of creative expression.[2] Radical Faerie communities are generally inspired by indigenous, native or traditional spiritualities, especially those that incorporate genderqueer sensibilities.[5]


[edit] History

The Faeries trace their name to the 1979 Spiritual Conference for Radical Faeries, organized as a "call to gay brothers" by early gay rights advocates Harry Hay, John Burnside, Don Kilhefner, and Mitch Walker.[6][7] The conference was held over three days (Labor Day weekend, 31 August to 2 September); approximately 200 participants met at an ashram in Benson, Arizona to explore ideas for merging spirituality into gay liberation.[7] In keeping with hippie, neopagan, and eco-feminist trends of the time, gatherings were held out-of-doors in natural settings.[8] To this end, distinct Radical Faerie communities have created sanctuaries that are "close to the land".[9]

The magical and "radical humanist" views of Arthur Evans, specifically his 1978 book Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture, influenced some early members of the movement.[10] Evans had previously formed the Faery Circle in San Francisco in the fall of 1975, a group that "combined neo-pagan consciousness, gay sensibility, and ritual play."[11]

[edit] Philosophy

Faeries represent the first spiritual movement to be both "gay centered and gay engendered", where gayness is central to the idea, rather than in addition to, or incidental to a pre-existing spiritual tradition. The Radical Faerie exploration of the "gay spirit" is central, and that it is itself the source of spirituality, wisdom, and initiation. Founding Faerie Mitch Walker claims that "because of its indigenous, gay-centered nature, the Radical Faerie movement pioneers a new seriousness about gayness, its depth and potential, thereby heralding a new stage in the meaning of Gay Liberation."[6]

[edit] Sanctuaries

Radical Faerie sanctuaries – rural land or urban buildings where Faeries have come together to live a communal life – now exist in North America (Wolf Creek in Oregon, Short Mountain in Tennessee, Destiny in Vermont, Zuni in New Mexico, Amberfox in Ontario, and others), Europe, Asia, and Australia[2][verification needed]

[edit] Cultural influence

The Faeries were a contributing influence to John Cameron Mitchell's film Shortbus.[12]

[edit] Bibliography

Magazine publications
  • RFD, often called the Radical Faerie Digest
  • White Crane, a journal of Gay Wisdom & Culture, covers various aspects of Faerie consciousness

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Thompson, Mark (21 January 2003), "Remembering Harry", The Advocate (Here Publishing), http://books.google.com/?id=SWUEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA24&dq=%22Remembering%20Harry%22%20advocate&pg=PA24#v=onepage&q, retrieved 2008-10-17 
  2. ^ a b c d Morgensen, Scott. 2009. "Back and Forth to the Land: Negotiating Rural and Urban Sexuality Among the Radical Faeries." In Ellen Lewin and William L. Leap eds. Out in Public: Reinventing Lesbian / Gay Anthropology in a Globalizing World: Readings in Engaged Anthropology. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 1405191015, 9781405191012.
  3. ^ Hennen, Peter (2008), Faeries, Bears, and Leatherman, University of Chicago Press 
  4. ^ Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael (2006), Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 260, ISBN 0275987124 
  5. ^ Encyclopedia of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history in America Marc Stein, Editor; Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004; ISBN 0684312646, 9780684312644.
  6. ^ a b Walker, Mitch (Fall 1997), "Contradictory Views on Radical Faerie Thought", White Crane Journal 34, http://www.whitecranejournal.com/wc01019.htm 
  7. ^ a b Hay, Harry (1996) [1979], "A Call to Gay Brothers", in Roscoe, Will, Radically Gay: Gay Liberation in the Words of Its Founder, http://books.google.com/books?id=ts4xksTvnqcC&lpg=PP9&dq=%22%22A%20Call%20to%20Gay%20Brothers%22%20%22A%20Spiritual%20Conference%20for%20Radical%22&pg=PA238#v=onepage&q&f=false 
  8. ^ Thompson, Mark (2004), Leatherfolk: Radical Sex, People, Politics, And Practice, Daedalus Publishing, p. 282, ISBN 1881943208 
  9. ^ Haggerty, George (2000), Gay histories and cultures: an encyclopedia, 2, Taylor & Francis, p. 1123, ISBN 0815318804 
  10. ^ Johnson, Toby, "Critique of Patriarchal Reason (book review)", International Gay and Lesbian Review, http://gaybookreviews.info/review/2593/919, retrieved 2008-03-25 
  11. ^ Evans, Arthur (2007), San Francisco Art Commission helps publish gay-positive philosophy book (Critique of Patriarchal Reason), http://www.webcastro.com/evans1.htm, retrieved 2010-06-29 
  12. ^ Dubowski, Sandi (2006, Fall), "Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret", Filmmaker Magazine, http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/fall2006/features/erotic_cabaret.php, retrieved 2007-04-20 

[edit] External links

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