The Mercury's annual Queer Issue debuts this June, so that means issue editor Stephen Marc Beaudoin has already doled out the article assignments, ordering each writer to cover a different part of Portland's queer subcultures. For me, Beaudoin saved a special assignment: the Radical Faeries.

I had never heard of the radical faeries. In fact, in response to Beaudoin's autocratic assignment email, I asked, "Do you know if these fairies have any gatherings or hippie dances coming up or anything?" and Beaudoin replied, "FAERIES." Right. So. I perused their Wikipedia entry to discover they're a mostly-male group of spirituality-seeking queers who do pagan-like rituals out at hot springs and communes while also engaging in discussion groups called "heart circles." Apparently, they're really big in Portland. Who would have thought, right? Anyway, all of this deep research brought me to Portland's Three Friend's Coffeehouse on a Saturday afternoon, in search of a rumored faerie coffee hour.

I was a little afraid I wouldn't be able to find the faeries, but as soon as I opened the door to Three Friends, there they were: thirty or so chatty men, drinking coffee, holding hands and overflowing the coffeeshop's sofas.

I sat down next to an older guy with a Hulk Hogan mustache.
"Hi," I said. "I'm Sarah."
"Nice to meet you!" he replied, shaking my hand. "I'm Leo Starfucker Sunshine!"

Starfucker Sunshine explained that he received his name after that one time when a ray of sunshine gave him an erection. The conversation only got better from there.

To top off the afternoon, I also met a faerie who does Beyonce-themed drag under the name Feyonce. Video here.

Much more than you ever wanted to know about the Radical Faeries and other LGBT Portland subcultures this June in the Queer Issue!