Friday, January 9, 2009

"Radical Faerie Digest" Celebrates 35 Years, Looks to the Future

Radical Faerie Digest - a queer, reader-written journal since 1974, is seeking input from the Faerie community about how to continue publishing. If you are an RFD reader, please fill out this online SURVEY.

From Rumors abound. Let’s dispel them. Like many of our readers, RFD is harvesting its fruits and nurturing the seeds for next year’s garden. We are evaluating where we are and where we need to be. Like many of our readers, like all prudent gardeners, like the USA, we celebrate the past, breathe into the present, and put things into place for a vibrant future – all at once.

Whatever the future holds, our community can find access to large chunks of its past in the pages of RFD.

Second only to The Advocate as the nation’s longest-running queer publication, the 135 issues that have been printed over 35 years contain a bridge to worlds the younger of us have never known and are scarcely recorded elsewhere. They have inspired, educated, challenged, and entertained.

1) We are still here.

2) We have preserved an immensely rich history of rural gays, queers, and faeries for 35 years.

3) Our archives (including a complete set of back issues, plus our files and correspondence from Running Water years and before are now professionally archived at Emory University in Atlanta, and in exchange we have received a major influx of money which will help us move forward.

4) The lamented death of one of our founders, Stewart Scofield, who was eulogized in the summer issue, will bring additional funds. He generously remembered us in his will.

5) Three wonderful, energetic, creative, and inspired men, also involved with Destiny, are joining our circle and will be taking on major tasks for at least the next year. They are Matt Bucy, Bambi Gauthier and Michel DuBois. Welcome!

While there is much to celebrate, there is also a transition to honor – the retirement from RFD of the dedicated Sister Soami (aka Mish) after nearly 20 years of serving as production manager and much more. Having kept this precious publication alive with a lot of assistance from a very few people, Sister is moving into a time of inner reflection, and is releasing most RFD responsibilities to allow for others to shoulder the blissful burden of continuing this labor of love. We greatly appreciate his work. And he’s not disappearing on us, but will continue to advise through the Board and prepare the SMS years archives for Emory for which we are also grateful.

At the time that the topic of Death and Suicide was chosen for the Autumn 2008 issue, the outlook for the continuation of RFD was grim. There was potential for this to be the final RFD. With a continued increase in expenses and a decrease in subscriptions, it has seemed at times that this publication is no longer sustainable, however relevant it may be.

While other groups of Faeries around the country fantasize about assuming the responsibilities, how RFD will exist in the future is in transition. A quarterly publication is no small undertaking – especially on a volunteer basis.

As we celebrate and mourn in the pages that follow, let us ponder our relationship to this magazine. Let us radiate gratitude that we get the privilege of sharing our lives with each other through the forum provided here. We continue to rely on the kind support you provide by subscribing to the magazine and encouraging your friends to do the same. In addition, as the world around us continues to move into the digital age, we need your involvement in helping us determine how to use a combination of print and web-based media to do whatever it is that RFD does.

If you are an RFD reader, please fill out this online SURVEY. Help this long-running queer resource find its way into a vital future.

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