Origins of the name
History
Organization of the Clan
Becoming a member
A Question of Blue Feathers
Charter for the Blue Feather in Caid
The Blue Feather Guild in the East Kingdom


Origins of the name

A Clan meeting on the battlefield at Pennsic 18, August 1989 (A.S. XXIV) to decide on a name/ symbol for the clan yielded many suggestions including a Blue Feather, but nothing was agreed on at that meeting. It was the following
year, at Pennsic 19, August 1990 (A.S. XXV) after another fruitless meeting that D'ner of House Alexander started using the Blue Feather. At the second meeting at that Pennsic, the name and symbol was "officially" voted on and accepted as a symbol and referent for the gay/lesbian/bisexual members of the Society.

The badge ("Argent, a feather azure") was registered in by Lord Laurel in 1990 to Moses von dem Falken for Clan Blue Feather and he has given permission for anyone to use the device in good faith.

(NOTE: Although the rumor persists that a blue feather was used by women in Renaissance Venice to denote their preference for other women, this has never been able to be documented and so therefore remains just a rumor.)


History

The group began when an advertisement appeared in the June A.S. XXIV issue of Pikestaff, the newsletter of the Eastrealm, calling for interested people to contact Seosamh O Choda. Seosamh began publishing "... But Its Period!" in July, and the name was chosen at Pennsic 18, August 1989 (A.S. XXIV).

Since then a second newsletter, "The Bluefeather" (now defunct, as is "... But It's Period!") was produced by Tristan Alexander. The Blue Feather Ball began at Pennsic in 1991, and a Blue Feather encampment began at Pennsic in 1992 both of which went a long way towards increasing the Clan's visibility and Memebership. Several Blue Feather events and commons (relaxed gatherings at members' homes) continue throughout the Society.


Organization of the Clan

Unlike some SCA groups Clan Blue Feather has no official leader, or group of leaders. Group activities are organized by consensus or by an interested person. Particular events and gatherings may have certain people in charge, but this is only in the context of that event. There is no official "leader of Clan Blue Feather."

Our members are united solely by a common interest, and not necessarily a common sexual orientation. They include:

  • Those with an interest in homosexuality in the Middle Ages
  • Those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered (GLBT)
  • Family, friends and supporters of the above
  • Those who simply want to meet, camp with, or otherwise socialize with other members


Becoming a member

There is no initiation, ceremony, or any other ritual required to consider yourself a member of Clan Blue Feather. Quite simply, if any or all of the items in the list above apply to you, feel free to call yourself a member, should you so choose. Our encampment and events are open to all. As we hope to be openly welcomed across the SCA, thus do we extend our welcome to any who would call themselves a member.

The only condition is one that is asked of all SCAdians, one that should indeed extend into the world beyond the SCA; that you comport yourself with honor, chivlary and courtesy. As with any group, it is judged by the actions of its members. We ask only the respect and mutual courtesy of your fellow man and woman.


A Question of Blue Feathers

The following are commonly asked questions about blue feathers, and the Blue Feather badge.

Q. Who can wear the registered badge and/or blue feathers as a token of the group?
A. Anyone who wishes to do so. We encourage our supporters, gay and straight, to display our symbol and badge. We only ask that you wear it with honor and courtesy.

Q. What is the difference between light and dark blue feathers?
A. As a general rule, dark blue feathers are worn by gay, men, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, while light blue feathers are worn by our friends and supporters.

Q. If I'm straight, can I belong to Blue Feather, camp with the group, go to meetings and so on, or can I only be a 'friend'? Do I have to be asked to join?
A. Anyone can participate, so long as they commit to display honor, chivalry, and courtesy to all, no matter what their sexual orientation. Several of the "Founding Members" are straight. See the "Becoming a member" section above.

Q. I always wear blue feathers as part of my garb, and I don't want anything to do with Blue Feather. What should I do?
A. Although the best and clearest way to show your affiliation with Clan Blue Feather is to wear the actual device (a blue feather, quill down on a white or silver field), many members have chosen to wear an actual blue feather as part of their garb, usually as a belt favor but often as a plume in their hat or in some other similar way. If you already have a blue feather as part of your garb and
someone mistakes you for a member of the Clan, simply state that they are part of your garb and are not meant to mean you are a member. Under normal circumstances, you can no doubt expect an apology for the confusion, and no harm done.

Q. Why bother with all this, when gay people were just burned at the stake?
A. In particular times, and particular places, yes. However, this is not true across all of history. Each culture had its own attitudes concerning homosexuality. In many societies, bisexuality was considered the norm. Try finding out what your persona's attitudes would have been, and the attitudes of the culture of his/her place in time (remember, your attitudes were probably formed in twentieth century and may have been diffrent from ancient times and cultures).

Q. What if someone makes a pass at me because I'm wearing a blue feather?
A. No one should assume anything because somebody is or is not wearing a blue feather. If you want to know why a person is wearing one, ask them politely. Most gay people go through the same approach and courtship rituals that straight people do. In fact in many cases, a gay person will be more tactful and circumspect to avoid awkward confusion. If you don't respond to the initial overtures, they'll probably assume that you aren't interested. If worse comes to worst, try, "I'm flattered by your attentions, but my interests lie elsewhere." Again, no harm done.


Charter for the Blue Feather in Caid

Blue Feather in Caid was chartered in order to meet the requirements for listing in the Kingdom Newsletter. Because the word "clan" implies the existence of a chieftan (or chiefess) and people who are members --and people who are not members-- the Caidans wearing blue feathers when this Charter was written decided not to use it.

To All Who Shall Read or Hear these Present Words do We, Timothy and Trista, King and Queen of Caid, send due Greetings and Salutations.

Inasmuch as Blue Feather is the gay/lesbian/bisexual study group within this Our Society, and

Insofar as We are well-pleased by the efforts and endeavours of the members of Blue Feather within this Our Realm, and

Being minded to encourage research, education, and among Our subjects, and

Whereas We are desirous of recognizing the contributions, past and future, made by the members of Blue Feather,

Now therefore are We, Timothy and Trista, King and Queen of Caid, pleased to Create, Charter and Recognize Blue Feather an official group within this Our Realm and Domain, with all the prerogatives, privileges, and responsibilities thereto appertaining

Timothy, Rex Caidis       Trista, Regina Caidis

In witness whereof We have upon All Hallows Eve, the 31st day of October, XXVII as, (being 1992 in the common reckoning) set Our hand hereto, and caused the Great Seal of Caid to be affixed.


The Blue Feather Guild in the East Kingdom

While researching having Clan Blue Feather recognized by the Crown of the East Kingdom, it was discovered that creating a Guild could enable the Clan to achieve several goals that it cannot achieve without an organizational infrastructure, including fostering and presenting research into homosexuality in the Renaissance and Middle Ages, and provide a forum for pollings to present Clan awards for research, service and martial skills.

The Guild is set up such that all Guild members are Clan members, but not all Clan members are Guild members. However, membership in the Guild is obtained by simply joining the Guild's Yahoo Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BlueFeatherGuild), where all Guild discussions and award pollings will take place.

Alexandros Pantellios developed a Charter and presented it to the Crown of the East at Pennsic in 2000, but it was denied at the time, and the Guild is researching references to any homosexual groups or activities that would have existed in period. Currently no further movement has been made, but anyone interested in being involved is encouraged to join the Yahoo Group for further discussion.

 

 
© Clan Blue Feather