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Thomas H. Clephane collection of Gay Spirit Visions records

Identifier: Q180

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Thomas H. Clephane Collection of Gay Spirit Visions Records, 1998-2017, consists of photographs, programs, poetry, rituals, and a small amount of correspondence related to Gay Spirit Visions events and members.


  • Creation: 1998-2017

Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research use. Access to photographs requires permission from Gay Spirit Visions Council.

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.


0.4 Linear Feet (in 1 box)

2.80 Gigabytes (333 files on department preservation server)

Language of Materials



Thomas H. Clephane collection of Gay Spirit Visions records, 1998-2017, consists of photographs, programs, poetry, rituals, and a small amount of correspondence from Gay Spirit Visions events and members.

Arrangement Note


Technical Access Requirements

Born-digital content must be accessed in the Special Collections and Archives reading room. Access to this material requires an appointment and at least two working days' advance notice; consult Special Collections staff for assistance. Files are stored in the Special Collections preservation system and can be made available by request on a reading room computer, subject to any restrictions deemed necessary after a department review.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Thomas Clephane, September 23, 2019.

Digital Access

Some born-digital files have been separated from physical media for preservation and access purposes. Copies are stored on our preservation server; access requires at least two working days’ advance notice. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Processing Information

Processed by Hal Hansen, September 24, 2019. Digital materials processed by Hal Hansen and Katherine Fisher, September 24, 2019. Born digital materials (DVD, CD-R, flashdrive, and iCloud transfer) were imaged and extracted for normalization and preservation purposes. Digital files are organized in their original file structure. A file directory list is available on request.



Thomas H. Clephane
A Guide to His Gay Spirit Visions Collection 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)