Skip to main content

Gay Spirit Visions Oral History Project

Identifier: Q140

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Established as an all-volunteer group of men in 1989, Gay Spirit Visions is committed to creating safe, sacred space that is open to all spiritual paths, wherein men who love men may explore and strengthen spiritual identity. Every year GSV holds retreats and conferences that are attended by men from all over the United States.

The Gay Spirit Visions Oral History Project is a component of the larger Gender and Sexuality Oral History Project. Most of the interviews, which have been conducted by Cal Gough and Randall Cumbaa, are recorded using audio and video equipment, although some may be available in audio form only.


  • Creation: 2015-2020


Conditions Governing Access

Some interviews are restricted. See individual entries for access restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

History of Gay Spirit Visions

Gay Spirit Visions began with the Southeastern Conference of Lesbians and Gay Men in 1978. The experiences at the conference inspired a group to begin a series of annual spiritual retreats for gay men at Running Water Farm in North Carolina. Harry Hay called together the first Radical Faerie Gathering there in 1979. Running Water became one of the sanctuaries of the Radical Faerie Movement, along with Short Mountain Sanctuary and the Atlanta Faerie Circle. The Faeries emphasized questioning social structure, honoring one's own individuality, and respecting the freedom and human equality of others. The Faeries organized around a consensual structure that honors the individuals involved and gives consideration to all points of view.

By 1989 Running Water was being surrounded by development making it impractical to gather there. With this need to find another location, the men organizing these gatherings saw this as an opportunity to design more organized and concise meetings. In the past, even though the experience was spiritually powerful, the retreats were also long and disorganized. Maintaining the original founding philosophy of Running Water, Gay Spirit Visions founded a new retreat at "The Mountain," a Unitarian Universalist retreat center just outside of Highlands, N.C., and has been holding conferences since 1990. Harry Hay was invited to give the keynote address at the 1990 meeting, and author Andrew Ramer and poet Franklin Abbott also presented.

Over the years a few traditions began to form, but the conference, as well as other activities, remain open to new inspiration and ever changing creative process. Most of the rituals are Neo-pagan in form but the content is as diverse as their members' personal spirituality. The Fall Conference, the Spring Retreat and the Winter Meditation in addition to the monthly pot-luck dinners, web-site and triannual newsletter, "Visionary," are all used as the means in which to introduce mainstream gay men to alternative spiritualities.


35 item(s) (35 oral history interviews)

Language of Materials



Gay Spirit Visions organizes gatherings for gay men to explore their spirituality and identity in a safe, nurturing, and sacred environment. The Gay Spirit Visions Oral History Project contains an ever-growing number of interviews with attendees of Gay Spirit Visions events.

Online Access

Some of these interviews are available online at Georgia State University Library Digital Collections.

Related Materials

Related Materials in this Repository

  1. Gay Spirit Visions records, 1978-2019 (Q127)

Processing Information

Individual interviews processed by Digital Library Services.

Gay Spirit Visions:
A Guide to the Oral History Project at Georgia State University Library
Hal Hansen
September 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)