A Conference Report Faggots and Class Struggle (click on the title to download).
This is a copy of Morning Due V.2, Issue 6, which was produced by attended a gathering at Magdalen Farm, which is now Wolf Creek Sanctuary.
At the end of this interview, someone reflects on the gathering.
And here is a where you can purchase recorded exerts from the conference.
I plan on writing more about this, but I wanted to post this as soon as I could.
From September 27-30 2012, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies and the Harry Hay Centennial Committee sponsored “Radically Gay: The Life & Visionary Legacy of Harry Hay,” a conference to commemorate the 100th birthday of Harry Hay. I responded to the call for papers with a proposal to discuss how current Radical Faeries use or think of the queer past and archetypes. I wanted to put this in conversation with Harry Hay’s research motivations and his general interest in past queer figures. Through participant observation at 2011 Wolf Creek Samhain and an interview with Portland Radical Faerie and clown Michael Zero, I contest some queer theorists vision of queer space as “fragile” and “ephemeral” and instead begin to build a theory of sustained queer space and community.
This presentation is the second one I have produced out of this set of research. The first is here. The page limit was 10. I had to cut out some important discussions of clowning that I hope to put into the larger project, which is a dissertation tentatively titled “Sustaining Gay Liberation: The Practice of Radical Faerie Culture.”
Below is the abstract. Click The Fool Speaks the Truth for the paper. Thoughts, comments, and critiques are welcome. Please send feedback to mlecker at gmu dot edu.
The Fool Speaks the Truth: The Creation of Queer Archetypes in the Radical Faerie Community
Harry Hay asked of gay men, “Who are we? Where did we come from? What are we for?” and looked to other cultures (including Medieval Europe, Iron Age British Isles, goddess worshiping cultures, and Pueblo cultures) to validate sexually and gendered others as having a legitimate and important role within society–a role destroyed within contemporary patriarchal and capitalistic Western Culture. Hay theorized that men who loved men constituted a third gender, a minority within humanity that has its own language, culture, and skills. In 1979, Hay’s research turned to praxis through the manifestation of the Radical Faeries, a loose network of people who explore queer spirituality, community, and identity through gathering and consciousness raising. Using research collected via participant observation at various gatherings and through interviewing Radical Faeries, this paper documents how three decades after its inception, Radical Faeries use, but also distance themselves from, Hay’s initial teachings and approach, while creating new roles such as the “Stag King.” These roles legitimatize the Radical Faerie’s existence outside of mainstream gay and lesbian culture, while also creating multiple positions of power to contest and critique the Radical Faerie community and the broader culture at large. From these events and interviews what becomes clear is an expressed desire and need amongst participants to build, and plug into a queer genealogy or mythos, which ultimately sustains this queer institution and contributes to its longevity. The ethics of using figures from other time periods or cultures to ground Western same-sex or queer sexual identity has been debated with LGBTQ studies for nearly four decades. In this paper, I reject the good/bad judgment imposed by some scholars and instead conjure what David Halperin calls “a sensitivity to difference [that] need not rule out identification… or form of queer multiplicity and solidarity.”
From January 12-16th, the Philly Radical Faeries hosted the 2nd Annual Philly Faerie Gatherette. On January 15th 2012, as part of the event, Murray Edelman, Joey Cain, Agnes de Garron, and audience members discussed Radical Faerie History and issues surrounding the preservation of history and the divide between public and private. Peter “speck” Lien videotaped the event and posted it here. I, Husk (Michael Lecker), transcribed it. If you find any mistakes, please let me know (michaellecker at gmail dot com).
Here is the file: History of the Faeries (including- Murray Edelman, Joey Cain, and Agnes de Garron)
This is the first presentation of my research on the Radical Faeries. This writing is based on my last four months of fieldwork. The sites I have visited so far are Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Sanctuaries in Minnesota and Oregon. I have had an amazing journey so far. I get to spend time practicing yoga, cooking, talking, and camping with some of the most amazing people I have ever met. I am indebted to the Faeries who have welcomed me into their fabulous lives and let me interview them. I sadly have not had time to review all of my material. I got back from Portland two days ago and this paper is due tomorrow morning— so it’s not my best piece of writing or a comprehensive sampling of sites. However, I have begun engaging with one idea that I think will become central to my project— queer genealogy is what I am currently calling it. I invite Radical Faeries to comment and critique this concept and the paper, either on this website or through sending me an email (mlecker at gmu dot edu). Take care, sistabrothers.
Love, Husk (formerly known as Quill).
This paper entitled Faerie Futurity will be presented at the Annual American Anthropological Association Meeting in Montreal at 8:00 AM on November 18, 2011.
Here is the paper.
To become a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at George Mason University, one must complete two fields—literature reviews of areas of study. My fields were “Mass Culture and Urban Space” and “Contemporary Theories of Sexuality.” Attached below is the “Contemporary Theories of Sexuality” field, but before that is my introduction.
In this overview of contemporary theories of sexuality, I trace sexuality as a public and political issue. The purpose is to understand how a supposedly private issue became a space to regulate bodies, but also a space for marginal subjects to contest norms. Theories I consider will discuss in numerous ways the political importance of history, social constructionism, essentialism, desire, bodies, identity, community, and normativity. I follow the field’s trajectory by examining four major movements: psychoanalysis, feminism, gay and lesbian studies, and queer theory, and their initial and continuing impact on how sexuality is theorized.
Contemporary Theories of Sexuality Field
I have been searching for grants to fund my dissertation for a few weeks. It has been a frustrating experience. Surprise, surprise, not a whole lot of institutions want to fund the humanities. I was ecstatic when I stumbled upon the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center’s Blanton Owen Fund Award. I have never applied for a grant and since I discovered the opportunity two days before it was due, I did not have a lot of time to revise. Please feel free to provide feedback on the proposal; this is part of my dissertation proposal and also any recommendations on how to write a grant proposal, if I erred, are welcome.
The proposal is to fund a trip to IDA, a Radical Faerie commune in central Tennessee.
Oral History and Communal Living at IDA Proposal
American University is hosting its 5th Annual GLBT Studies Colloquium. The colloquium is part of an effort to create connections and a sense of communities among GLBT studies and queer theorist scholars in the DC metropolitan area.
Please submit abstracts at this link.