Another Brighton Pride...So you’ve done the parade, seen the show at the park, hung out in the village, got a bit wasted. You’re out and proud! You’ve challenged the subtle (and not-so-subtle) sexuality/gender policing and shaming that you’ve been exposed to all your life. And it feels good.....
Now what? Maybe there’s even more to you than your queer identity?
Harry Hay (gay man, intellectual, activist and one of the founders of the Faeries) would often ask three questions at the start of a talk or a conference: Who are we? Where do we come from? Why are we here?
Pride marches, parades and festivals have helped us to acknowledge ourselves and to recognize and celebrate our contribution to diversity. So we’re starting to know who we are. Yet we’ve some way to go in understanding where we came from and what our purpose may be.
Hay spent time researching the role of the queer in Native American and primitive cultures. He found that these societies valued and prized their queer children as Two Spirit beings. Queer kids were encouraged to develop their shamanic nature and were cultivated to take on and hold crucial positions in the spiritual and cultural life of the tribe.
Hay believed that Two Spirits seeking each other “ghosted the twilight regions” and that the process of seeking one another and categorizing their relationships led to an intellectual breakthrough. They had the gift of seeing their own socially productive relationships as roles or constructs and so were more easily able to to see the real person behind the role play. They thus considered one another and indeed the world with a radical subjectivity, seeing through the show and establishing relationships on deeper spiritual levels.
Sadly, for most of us, our two-spirit-ness has been a mark of shame and has resulted in us being hounded out of our own religious communities. Forced to choose between our sexuality and spirituality we have had no spiritual home where our queerness could be seen as central and essential to our esoteric nature.
Harry Hay was a communist. Back in the 1970s he wrote that the West was “in an anarcho-capitalistic social and ethical stagnation” and he believed that “the Homophile” (us queers), as descendants of the Two Spirit, had the responsibility of finding the way out.
Forty years on and the ethical and social stagnation is beginning to stink!
Are you ready to re-kindle your spiritual flame? Do you want to join forces through the development of lore, myth and ritual to inspire contemporary action? Then get yourselves along to the Queer Spirit Festival (queerspirit.net) 17-21 August in Wiltshire (BA13 4AQ).
Here you’ll find ceremony and ritual, earth spirituality, a sacred sexuality temple, spirit mysteries, yoga, meditation, dance workshops, music and cabaret, nature walks, heart circles.
Four days of camping in the sunshine (or rolling around in the mud!). Meeting new friends and nurturing ourselves. Let’s find each other and have some fun!