Photo Essays: Faerieland
Faerieland is a communal home and gay sanctuary for six men who identify as Faeries. Faerie culture began In 1979, when Harry Hay, a prominent American gay activist called on gay people “to throw off the ugly green frogskin of hetero-imitation to find the shining Faerie prince beneath.” He encouraged gay people to embrace a queer themed spirituality, as a part of their identity. Some Radical Faeries wondered what kind of society would emerge if Queerfolk were set apart from society, in order to investigate their inner voice in a completely Gay culture, and so the call to discover a true gay identity, distinct from the layers of heterosexual cultural indoctrination began. Faerie sanctuaries were formed in the USA, and gradually spread around the world.
The Australian Radical Faerie Sanctuary has been running since 2002 thanks to the dedication of these men. It is a communal living space that has an open door policy, whereby gay people from all over the world can find sanctuary from the hetero normative and sometimes gay hostile world. The sanctuary sits on 52 hectares of land in NSW’s Rainbow Region and the history of it’s creation is largely responsible for the “coming out” of rural gay Australia.
Celebrating gay culture in rural area’s as oppose to the urban gay experience is central to the faerie movement, which at it’s roots emphasized hippy, neo pagan and indigenous spirituality and culture, although you don’t need to live in the country to be a faerie, and you don’t have to prescribe to any doctrine. It has been said that it can be as challenging to define “Radical Faerie” as it is to define “Human Being,” as to be a faerie is an act of self-definition. What can be said for certain though, is that the faerie experience has enhanced and sometimes profoundly changed the lives of many LGBTQI people.