Radical Fairies
by Gordon Polatnick
  1995

    You know how it's not o.k. to stereotype? Well watch this: San Francisco = Gay; Haight-Ashbury = Hippies. Anybody have a problem with that? In the spirit of this Contract on America, which the republicans in Congress recently put out on us, let me be the first to usher in the new era of "political inconceivableness."  We're bold, we're blunt, and we intend to offend. Whatever. That off my chest, we now return you to our regularly scheduled article.  

   When you see the juxtaposed words, Radical Fairies, your imagination works on images. Perhaps you conjure up the notion of effeminate men lobbing Molotov cocktails at cops in retribution for busting heads at an AIDS benefit? Or if you're not politically bent, you might picture a kid finding kind buds under her pillow instead of quarters; a rad little Tooth Fairy buzzing around the room checking out the snow boarding posters on the wall.  

    The lesson here is that although stereotypes are fun, they're not bright enough to shine any light on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me goddess. San Francisco is not all gay, and the Haight is not just for Hippies. But if you are a gay Hippie, boy are you in luck. The Radical Fairies have been holding court in the hood for fifteen years, and the organization is still growing, sprinkling "back to nature" pixie dust amongst its devoted membership.

    If your stereotyped image of "Gay Hippie" doesn't appeal to your 90's sensibilities, but you're intrigued nonetheless, I suggest two things: 

1) Don't trust what you see in print (written words can be careless and vague).
2) Jot down this number, (415) 626-3369.

That's the Telefairy Hotline number that will provide a recorded listing of upcoming community events such as: Kundalini Yoga, Dream Circles (bring your dream journal), Heart Circles, Vegetarian Pot Luck Dinners, and the occasional politically inspired gathering.

    The Radical Fairies got their start in 1978 at an inspired gathering of the extended Rainbow family. The Rainbow Gathering occurs annually the first week in July. Each year a committee selects a beautiful and remote wilderness area suitable to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims who reunite to revel in relative freedom--primal fashion. Let your imaginations chew on that for a while. The Rainbow folks are non-exclusive, all stripes of peaceful people are welcomed home by the family, (but not always by the constabulary of the area they've invaded for the week).  

    When the founding fathers of the Radical Fairies (gay friends from California) decided to personalize the experience of the Rainbow Gathering, their vision included the familiar fantasies of the "Back to Nature" movement: To work the land and live and love in peace among friends who share a deep and expansive reverence for the Earth. This dream is an eight year old reality sitting on 100 acres of Wolf Creek, Oregon. Wolf Creek is part commune and part retreat for the Radical Fairies who have grown from a small circle of friends to 600 Bay Area "members," 100 of whom live here in the Haight.

    Rad. Fairy co-founding father and prominent marijuana rights activist Dennis Peron (whom I thank for providing me with an overview of the group), is an active local mainstay. Other pockets of organized R.F.'s can be found in Portland, Seattle, Santa Cruz, and New York. For further reading by and about Radical Fairies, a publication called R.F.D. might be found in your favorite Anarchist/Pagan bookstore. If you think you might be a Radical Fairy trapped in just a plain Fairy's body, call up the Telefairy Hotline, choose an event and simply show up. You'll know soon enough if this is your scene.

 
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