The Radical Faeries are a decentralized counter-culture movement with a focus on gay conscious and spirituality. The movement's focus started out on gay men in particular,[1] but has since expanded to include LGBTQIA+ people in general.[2]


Before the finding of the Radical Faeries, Harry Hay was the founder of the Mattachine Society in 1950.[1][3] Inspired by New Age, neo-pagan, and other counter-culture movements, Hay worked with others to create an event specifically for celebrating gay sexuality and spirituality.[1][3][4][5]

The first Radical Faeries retreat was held in 1979, organized by Harry Hay[1][3][4], Mitch Walker,[1] and Don Kilhefner.[1][3] This event took place in a remote location of the Arizona desert,[1][3] with 220 men from across North America traveling to attend.[3] The main focus of this and subsequent Radical Faeries events were to "reject assimilation with heterosexuals",[1] and embrace their identities separate from the overall heterosexual society that they were living within.[1][3][5]

Though the original group of men who organized the first retreat parted ways sometime in 1980,[1] there continued to be many other local Radical Faeries events and retreats throughout the United States and beyond.[1][3][4] It was intentional that the Radical Faeries would be a very grassroots and decentralized movement, allowing for people to form their own groups and retreats under the same name in other locations.[3]

One of the major locations in the United States today for Radical Faeries retreats is the Nomenus Sanctuary, also referred to as Wolf Creek Radical Faeries Sanctuary. This is a nature sanctuary in Oregon, where members of the group tend to the lands of the sanctuary, including a farm, and hold events and retreats for all who wish to travel there.[5][6][7] Nomenus was formally established as a non-profit and tax-exempt religious corporation in 1984.[6]

In Tennessee, there is another Radical Faeries sanctuary established in 1975 and has been operating since then. This sanctuary is called the Short Mountain Radical Faerie Sanctuary.[4][5][8] Their May Day event in particular has been known to draw in over 300 people from around the world, both members of other Radical Faeries groups and outside visitors.[5]

There are other Radical Faeries groups throughout the United States, such as one group operating within San Fransisco,[9][10] and another in northern Minnesota in the Kawashaway Sanctuary.[11] In Europe, many Radical Faeries groups exist,[12] with one in particular managing and maintaining the Folleterre Sanctuary in France.[13] There are also established Radical Faeries groups, retreats, and sanctuaries in other parts of the globe, including Canada, Israel,[1] Australia[3][5], and Mexico.[5]



  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 "Radical Faeries Have Been Pushing Queer Boundaries for More Than 40 Years" by Baume, Matt on <>. Published 2017-05-03 by Hornet. (Archived on 2019-05-06)
  2. "About the Radical Faeries" on <>(Archived on 2022-07-09)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 "The Radical Faeries at 40: Rainbow Capitalism or Queer Liberation?" by Kilhefner, Don on <>. Published 2020-04-07 by WEHOville. (Archived on 2021-09-23)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Out of the Woods" by Halberstadt, Alex on <>. Published 2015-08-06 by New York Times. (Archived on 2022-08-04)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 "Radical Faeries" by Bonck, John Harry on <>. Published 2004 by glbtq Archives Project. (Archived on 2022-07-09)
  6. 6.0 6.1 "About the Sanctuary - Nomenus" on <>(Archived on 2022-07-09)
  7. "Nomenus Radical Faerie Archives" on <>. Published by Online Archive of California. (Archived on 2022-04-20)
  8. "Radical Faeries Find Gay Homeland In Tennessee" by Cuen, Leigh on <>. Published 2015-02-24. (Archived on 2021-09-21)
  9. "Radical Faeries: SF’s Fabulously Weird Progressive Queers" on <>. Published 2012-10-10 by The Bold Italic. (Archived on 2022-08-22)
  10. "10 Amazing San Francisco Highlights From the History of the Radical Faeries" on <>. Published 2017-04-04 by San Francisco Travel Association. (Archived on 2021-06-10)
  11. "The Radical Faeries Of Kawashaway Sanctuary" by Broker, Eric on <>. Published 2019-08-30 by Twin Cities Pride Magazine. (Archived on 2022-02-06)
  12. "EuroFaeries - Radical Faeries in Europe" on <>(Archived on 2022-07-09)
  13. "About Folleterre" on <>(Archived on 2022-05-06)