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More Secret Radical Faerie History

More Secret Radical Faerie History

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Published by Douglas Sadownick
Malcolm Boyd’s HuffPost review of The Fire In Moonlight: Stories from the Radical Faeries, edited by Mark Thompson, disregards any interest in fair reporting due to what I surmise is a dangerous ulterior political motive, as Boyd fails to mention that the editor of the book he is reviewing is his life partner. He makes this omission, I believe, so that he can hide the fact of a schism in Radical Faerie history in which his lover played a part (which is also ignored in Thompson’s Fire book). This controversy concerns how Faerie co-founder Mitch Walker attempted to bring the project of psychological honesty to the gay spirit movement. My comment here is based on my own involvement in that effort, including a past friendship with Mark Thompson, the editor of the book Boyd is reviewing, and the fact that I reported on this aspect of Faerie history, and the cover-up of this history by people once aligned with Walker, in the January-February 2011 issue of the Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. Now Boyd officially joins the pack of those who wish to erase the role Mitch Walker’s gay-centered psychological activism has played in the gay liberation movement. For the record, my name is Douglas Sadownick, and as well as being a psychotherapist and educator, I am the author of the books, Sacred Lips of the Bronx and Sex Between Men. To read my full comments on the serious problems with Boyd’s review, please go to: http://www.scribd.com/doc/86981366.
Malcolm Boyd’s HuffPost review of The Fire In Moonlight: Stories from the Radical Faeries, edited by Mark Thompson, disregards any interest in fair reporting due to what I surmise is a dangerous ulterior political motive, as Boyd fails to mention that the editor of the book he is reviewing is his life partner. He makes this omission, I believe, so that he can hide the fact of a schism in Radical Faerie history in which his lover played a part (which is also ignored in Thompson’s Fire book). This controversy concerns how Faerie co-founder Mitch Walker attempted to bring the project of psychological honesty to the gay spirit movement. My comment here is based on my own involvement in that effort, including a past friendship with Mark Thompson, the editor of the book Boyd is reviewing, and the fact that I reported on this aspect of Faerie history, and the cover-up of this history by people once aligned with Walker, in the January-February 2011 issue of the Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. Now Boyd officially joins the pack of those who wish to erase the role Mitch Walker’s gay-centered psychological activism has played in the gay liberation movement. For the record, my name is Douglas Sadownick, and as well as being a psychotherapist and educator, I am the author of the books, Sacred Lips of the Bronx and Sex Between Men. To read my full comments on the serious problems with Boyd’s review, please go to: http://www.scribd.com/doc/86981366.

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Published by: Douglas Sadownick on Mar 28, 2012
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01/14/2013

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Reply to Malcolm Boyd’s February 20, 2012
 Huffington Post 
piece entitled, “Gay Spirituality and the Radical Faeries” – a book review of 
The Fire In Moonlight: Stories from the Radical Faeries
, edited by Mark ThompsonBy Douglas Sadownick Malcolm Boyd’s February 20, 2012
 Huffington Post 
review of 
The Fire In Moonlight: Stories from the Radical Faeries
, edited by Mark Thompson,disregards any interest in objectivity and fair reporting due to what I surmise to be about a dangerous ulterior political motive. It is a standard in fair media writing that reviewers disclose their relationship to the author they are covering if a dual relationship exists. But Boyd fails to mention that the editor of the book heis reviewing is his longtime life partner. He makes this omission, it would seem tome, so that he can hide the fact of a central controversial schism in Radical Faeriehistory in which his lover played a part (which is also ignored in Thompson’s
 Fire
 book). The following statement is based on my own longterm participation in theCalifornia-based gay spirituality community being discussed, including a pastfriendship with Mark Thompson, the editor of the book Boyd is reviewing, as wellas personal relationships with the other prominent figures being discussed here.The Radical Faerie movement is historically important because it was the firstlarge-scale effort to organize gay-identified men on an indigenously homosexualspiritual basis, unlike gay synagogues, churches, and so on, which rely onheterosexist mythologies and dogmas. The Faerie movement was organized
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principally by three individuals: Harry Hay (co-founder of the Mattachine Society in 1950), Don Kilhefner (co-founder of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Centerin 1971), and Mitch Walker (the first “out” gay author to be published in aJungian journal in 1976). (A fourth person, Harry’s partner John Burnside,served as a supporting figure). Walker not only was a primary architect of thismovement, he was also the leader behind the controversial move to introduce agay-centered psychology into Faerie organizing. This history can be found in thestandard accepted history to date of Harry Hay by Stuart Timmons,
The Troublewith Harry Hay
(a revised edition has been published by White Crane Books, with the same basic text as the original 1990 version).But Boyd, following in the footsteps of other disgruntled participants in the Gay Spirit movement, mendaciously ignores the formulational role Mitch Walker,according to Timmons’ biography, played, along with Harry Hay, in developingthe idea of a grassroots political movement based in Gay Spirit (and how DonKilhefner was brought in later for his organizational capacities). Boyd writesdishonestly: “The book honors two men who played a key pioneering role, Harry Hay and Don Kilhefner,” thereby obliterating Mitch Walker’s key role.Boyd must have been aware of a very recent, public controversy that took place inthe pages of the
Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide
(
GLR
), the intellectualmagazine of record in the gay community. In my article in the January-February 2011 issue of the
GLR
, “The ‘Secret’ Story of the Radical Faeries,” I reported onthe ways in which Don Kilhefner’s retelling of Faerie history in his “The Radical
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Faeries at Thirty + 1,” article, published in the September-October 2010 issue of the
GLR,
is notable not only for its erasure of important aspects of gay history, but also for its rejection of a psychological approach to gay-centeredindividuation and community building. I wrote that there is “a complex layer of history that’s often left out and thus rendered ‘secret.’”In my 
GLR
article, I also called attention to the implicational importance, for gay liberation’s spiritual potentials, of the Radical Faerie schism that erupted duringthe heyday of Faerie organizing, which Don Kilhefner erased as if it didn’thappen, and as if he had not played a major role in it: “A gay-centeredpsychoanalytic movement or revolution,” I wrote, “based on transformingunfinished family business, unexamined motives, and internalized homophobiainto genuine gay self-realization, spearheaded by Mitch Walker, emerged from within the Faerie endeavor at its beginnings.” Walker’s remarkable effort to bringpsychological honesty to the organization was “forged through confrontation withpsychological dysfunction among its core leadership, especially regarding Harry Hay, who was rabidly anti-psychological and who attempted at every turn to block any serious efforts in an analytic direction.” I would add now that theimportance of that effort can’t be understated, especially for an organizationfounded on celebrating the spiritual nature of gayness. Without psychologicalhonesty, there can only be hypocrisy at best, and truly violent behavior at worst. As I reported, Don was at the time, back in the early 1980s, profoundly supportive of Mitch’s spiritual leadership as he “eventually realized the
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