Radical Faeries seek to uncover an authentic way of being queer – transcending destructive social norms that have led to us objectifying our bodies and one another; filling our spiritual yearning with consumerism, addiction, and abuse. Objectification places one in a power relationship to the other; repressing and eliminating all subjective passion and compassion. In their place, fear, anxiety, and hostility emerge as tools to seek and maintain power and control. Or, in the words of the poet, essayist, and Radical Faerie, James Broughton, “So much of human society is resentfully loveless, no wonder it is violent and guilt-ridden. All power seekers want to make slaves of others; hence they create abusive relationships.” From the Faerie view, this is the disordered hetero-male deformation of masculinity.
It is not heterosexuality which is the enemy; but the tendency to turn gender into an immutable thing, as opposed to the social construct it is. A way of breaking this down is through play. A frequent element in Faerie gatherings is wearing drag – not meant to replicate female gender expectations; but to comment on them through play. It is not at all unusual to see a man with a full beard and chest hair wearing a cheesy, gaudy dress from the 1970s, a huge wig, and layers of makeup. By the same token, Faeries – often the same Faeries – will also dress in loincloths and tribal paint, or that more traditional staple of gay subculture, leather chaps and harnesses – attire which can be taken as an equally playful commentary on constructions of masculinity. In the same way, Faeries will sometimes refer to the typical clothing worn by North American men as “boy drag.” In all respects, in drag and out; naked or clothed, Faeries maintain a consistent way of interaction which is relational – heart circles, puppy piles, erotic massage, dance, or a simple, warm embrace.