Radical faerie culture produces modern sexual minorities by mediating their racial and national relationship to histories of colonization. Radical faeries arose in the US by forming itinerant rural gatherings--and, over time, landed rural sanctuaries to host them--where they sought to liberate an authentic gay subjectivity grounded in indigenous cultural roots. I examine the formation of rural sanctuaries and gatherings as sources for gay liberation by investigating how they are structured as spaces of homecoming. Radical faeries who travel to gatherings and sanctuaries arrive at home--despite neither originating nor remaining at these sites--when they find in rural spaces and in tales of indigeneity a self-acceptance and shared nature that grants new belonging to settled land. I narrate key moments when practices of rural mobility and emplacement call gay men home to authentic subjectivity and radical community, by means of loving communion, multigenerational rural ties, indigenous spirituality, and a newly indigenized relationship to settled land. My argument arises from reflexive ethnographic interpretation of the quotidian practices of gatherings and sanctuaries. My ethnographic attention marks the integrity of radical faerie culture as a creative mediation of the racial, national, and colonial conditions of sexuality. My analysis calls queer studies to attend more deeply to the intersectionality and coloniality of sexual minority formations in settler societies, and to let ethnographic interpretation mark both how normative power relations condition sexualities and how sexual subjects creatively engage them.
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Scott Lauria Morgensen; Arrival at Home: Radical Faerie Configurations of Sexuality and Place. GLQ 1 January 2009; 15 (1): 67–96. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-2008-019
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