|A bit of History of the Radical Faeries|
|written for this web page by Khrysso Heart LeFey
In the summer of 1979 a flyer was circulated all over North America saying,
A CALL TO
A SPIRITUAL CONFERENCE
FOR RADICAL FAIRIES
TO BE HELD LABOR DAY WEEKEND
AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 1, 2, 1979
AT A DESERT SANCTUARY NEAR TUCSON
• exploring breakthroughs in gay consciousness
• sharing gay visions
• the spiritual dimensions of gayness
In the Winter Solstice 1979 issue (#22) of RFD, “A Country Fairy Journal--for Gay Men Everywhere,” as it was subtitled at the time, one John Kyper wrote these words about the weekend:
“I had just participated in a large Fairy Circle in a redwood forest, led by Arthur Evans, author of Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture [which is again in print, by the way] . . . I had felt the magical energy of this group of four dozen men in a great circle—singing, dancing, and celebrating our sexuality. Arthur’s work has been an important influence, tracing gay spirituality to the pagan nature religions . . . .
“Once I saw a flier for the Fairy Conference, I knew I had to go. Its organizers included Harry Hay, founder of the first Mattachine in 1951, and Don Kilhefner, director of the Los Angeles Gay Community Services Center. “A Call to Gay Brothers” enumerated their vision for the conference:
To share new insights about ourselves;
T dance in the moonlight;
To renew our oaths against patriarchy/corporations/racism;
To hold, protect, nurture, and caress one another;
To talk about the politics of gay enspiritment/the enspiritment of gay politics;
To find the healing place inside our hearts . . .
"The spirit was contagious. They had initially hoped to attract fifty people, but nearly 200 ultimately attended . . . .
“Harry Hay spoke of his gay vision of ‘subject-subject relationships,’ of people sharing as equals, rather than the subject-object relationships that pervade our society . . .”
Later the spelling of “fairy” was changed to the older, Celtic-reminiscent “faerie,” and though Hay, for one, had apparently said along the way that a movement was not what he had envisioned at this first gathering of faeries qua faeries, a movement is essentially what developed.
I came to identify with this tribe in the fall of 1994 and attend gatherings of queer men (and a few friends of the female and/or non-queer persuasion) that have continued in, ideally, the tradition described above, twice a year at Short Mountain Sanctuary in Cannon County, Tennessee, USA. Though there are noteworthy concentrations of faeries in some larger cities such as San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and New Orleans, I don’t find many in metropolitan Columbus, Ohio who identify strongly with the community/movement, and so I keep in touch with the members of my tribe by phone, through an online Radical Faerie listserv, and by reading and writing for RFD Magazine.
RFD had not originally been about Radical Faeries—it had been in existence for years, created originally for rural gay men, but it has, in the last nearly twenty years, come to be synonymous with the RFs. Many think that RFD stands for Radical Faerie Digest, but those who were there then insist that it was taken from just what everyone else thinks of when they hear the initials: Rural Free Delivery. It was for and about rural sissies. A continuing source of delight for me is that in each issue, RFD is also assigned an additional meaning (Really Feeling Decadent and Ranting For Days are possibilities). The connection between RFD and the faeries has been strengthened by the fact that one of the best known semi-annual gatherings of Radical Faeries takes place at Short Mountain Sanctuary, the gay men’s intentional community that has also been the headquarters for RFD for years. SMS is a good candidate for “Faerie Central” for this reason, even though other men’s collectives may have been around longer and may be regionally better known than Short Mountain. (Nomenus, better known as Wolf Creek, in southern Oregon, is the first example that comes to mind.)
RFD, a quarterly, is available in many Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender, alternative, and feminist bookstores, and more information is available from:
PO Box 68
Liberty, TN 37095
|Me at Short Mountain Sanctuary in Cannon County, Tennessee|
|Some Faerie Links, some by me:|
|"From 'Political' to POLITICAL" (RFD #83)|
|Talk to Khrysso Heart|