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social sciences

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Radical Faeries  
page: 1  2  

Not a gathering happens without the deeply moving experience of a new or first-time faerie standing in the center of a heart circle, declaring through tears of joy and relief that he or she has discovered the lost tribe and has finally "come home." Faeries sometimes assume faerie names, blending and borrowing from many traditions of tribal nicknames, magic practice, and covert culture (such as "drag names"). These names can be fantastical or mundane; and, as is typical of faerie style, they can change frequently in symbolic response to personal growth and change of circumstance, or just for the hell of it.

Growth and Evolution

The HIV epidemic has not, as was feared by some, brought about the demise of the faerie phenomenon. Indeed, the faerie movement continues to grow.

Sponsor Message.

While it is true that some of the "founding faerie fathers" held gender specific and essentialist views that now seem exclusive and discriminatory, the faerie movement has actually been more inclusive than many people realize. People of all genders and orientations now find and identify themselves as faeries.

Finally, faerie culture is both evolving and evanescent. There are as many definitions of the faeries and their movement as there are faeries to ask. What is certain is that the faerie experience has enhanced and sometimes profoundly changed the lives of many glbtq people.

John Harry Bonck

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social sciences >> Overview:  Goddess Religions

Goddess religions, especially those that feature a singular Great or Mother Goddess, honor female energy for its role in fertility and the creation of new life.

social sciences >> Overview:  Patriarchy

Patriarchy, literally "the rule of the fathers," is a social system in which men hold positions of power and women are oppressed and glbtq people are treated negatively.

social sciences >> Overview:  Rural Life

Rural life offers both challenges and satisfactions for glbtq people.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sissies

Although sometimes reviled by heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, the sissy has historically helped define gay culture, and has questioned the dominant constructions of sex and gender.

social sciences >> Overview:  Spirituality

Today's glbtq spirituality movements must be seen as part of a long history in which gender-special people were considered sacred to their tribe or family because of their obvious spiritual gifts.

social sciences >> Overview:  Wicca

Primarily a nature religion that seeks to commune with the divine through the contemplation and celebration of nature and its mysteries, Wicca--like other contemporary pagan traditions--celebrates our existence in this world.

social sciences >> Hay, Harry

Activist Harry Hay, an original member of both the Mattachine Society and the Radical Faeries, is recognized as one of the principal founders of the gay liberation movement in the United States.


Connor, Randy P. Blossom of Bone: Reclaiming the Connections between Homoeroticism and the Sacred. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1993.

Evans, Arthur. Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture. Boston: Fag Rag Books, 1978.

_____, and Frank Pietronigro. Critique of Patriarchal Reason. New York: White Crane Press, 1997.

Hay, Harry. Radically Gay: Gay Liberation in the Words of Its Founder. Boston: Beacon, 1996.

Ramer, Andrew. Two Flutes Playing: A Spiritual Journeybook for Gay Men. San Francisco: Alamo Square Press, 1997.

Roscoe, Will. Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

_____. Queer Spirits: A Gay Men's Myth Book. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995.

_____. The Zuni Man-Woman. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991.

Rose, Bradley, ed. A Radical Fairy's Seedbed: The Collected Series. San Francisco: Vortex/Nomenus, 1997.

Thompson, Mark. Gay Soul: Finding the Heart of Gay Spirit and Nature with Sixteen Writers, Healers, Teachers and Visionaries. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1995.

Timmons, Stuart. The Trouble with Harry Hay: Founder of the Modern Gay Movement. Boston: Alyson, 1990.

Walker, Mitch. Men Loving Men: A Gay Sex Guide and Consciousness Book. San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1985.

_____. Visionary Love: A Spirit Book of Gay Mythology and Transmutational Faerie. San Francisco: Treeroots Press, 1980.


    Citation Information
    Author: Bonck, John Harry  
    Entry Title: Radical Faeries  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated June 12, 2007  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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