There are times in the history of our humanity when, suddenly, unexpectedly, and dramatically, human consciousness shifts. When this happens, historians are usually curious about how these changes came about. Who did what to whom, and when?
The development of an LGBTQI+ liberation movement is one such event. We all know there was a time, back in the dark ages, when queerness didn’t even seem to have a consciousness of itself. And then there was a time when queers were vilified and persecuted- even killed and eugenicised. And then came the time when one queer said ‘No!”
There is a scientifically recognised phenomenon known as ‘morphic resonance’ (discovered by biologist Professor Rupert Sheldrake) whereby, a puzzle or dilemma solved by one living creature is immediately more likely, and more rapidly, to be solved by another, regardless of geographical proximity. Maybe it is by this little understood process that historic shifts of consciousness occur. However, in terms of queer liberation, there must have been that moment when, not only did one particular queer say “No! This is not acceptable” but then went on to say “And this is how we’ll go about changing it...”
It is quite possible that the name of that queer was Harry Hay. He was one of the founders of the first gay liberation movement organisations in the U.S.- the Mattachine Society. The story of how that small group brought hope and then ultimately tangible human rights equality to a growing number of nations across the world is told in a short, gripping movie biopic ‘Hope Along the Wind’ coming to the Brighton Fringe Festival in May.
Interestingly, Harry Hay’s involvement at the inception of the LGBTQI+ liberation movement was not the end of the story. After the movement’s historic successful legal challenge of a cottaging charge, the movement was flooded with ‘assimilationists’ (who believed ‘we’re just like straights apart from our sexualities’). He stepped away from the movement believing steadfastly that having sexualities was one of the few things that queers did have in common with the mainstream. He believed that queerness gave us a unique window through which we are able to view society and that we then favourably influence society through our own individual cultural engagements.
He threw himself into research constantly asking his famous three questions: “Who are we?’ , ‘Where do we come from?’ and ‘Why are we here?’
Following his discovery of a resonance with the Native American identity of Berdache or ‘Two Spirit’, he began to see queers as a tribe of magical spiritual creatures with a unique role to play in the development of human consciousness.
As Faeries, we locate our own unique purpose by celebrating our wild and mysterious natures together in community......
‘Hope Along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay’ is showing at the Fabrica Gallery, 40 Duke Street, BN11AG
TUESDAY May8 at 7.30pm. Tickets £8 & £6:
Come along and say hello to the Brighton Faeries!