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I live in a 'queer intentional community' in Northern California - it's a magical fairy paradise
Beau Gordon moved to a ‘queer intentional community’ two years ago (Picture: @gaybritishbear/Getty)

Before Beau Gordon moved to Northern California, he dreamed of a different life. His friendship group was very male-oriented, and he wanted to surround him with some more diverse energy.

After he got divorced from his ex-husband, his moment arrived: he reconnected with a few old colleagues of his who had bought their own land and started a ‘queer intentional community’ just north of San Francisco. He jumped at the chance, and he’s now been living there, harmoniously, for two years.

‘We want to be in nature, we want to live in a community. It’s about supporting each other and living with your friends in the woods,’ Beau, who is 34 and originally from the UK, tells Metro.co.uk.

The group, which operates like an LGBTQ+ commune but describes itself more as a ‘queer intentional community,’ owns five acres and has 10 land mates, all of whom have developed a close relationship with one another.

Beau isn’t alone: LGBTQ+ communes have been flourishing for decades as alternative spaces where queer people can live together outside of mainstream society, which might not always provide safe housing options.

Typically, they’re non-hierarchical organisations where everyone is equal and shares similar socio-political values.

In the US in the twentieth-century, a group called the Radical Faeries was founded that began as sporadic meet-ups between gay men, and later became a more comprehensive network of communities that spread across the US and Europe.

Likewise, the Women’s Land Movement was also established in the 1970s, with its first lesbian commune taking the form of WomanShare in 1974.

Within Beau’s community specifically, there’s never one day that’s the same: from gardening to hosting parties and generally ‘holding space’ together, Beau gets ‘so much energy’ from working on projects with his friends, and has ‘evolved’ so much since moving there.

‘A typical day that I love, I’ll wake up, go downstairs and then four or five people are drinking coffee in the kitchen, we might be on the deck in the morning sun,’ Beau, who previously worked as a software engineer and now describes himself as the ‘David Attenborough of the queer community,’ describes.

‘And then you look over the deck and someone’s down in the garden naked, planting things or pruning, and then someone’s over there doing a cold plunge and just having a sort of busy energy.’

So, how does the intentional community operate? Everyone has their own job and pays rent, so in many senses, they each live a relatively ‘normal life’ outside.

Every two weeks, the group host intentional meetings where they discuss infrastructure and projects they need to work on, and in the future, intend to buy up more land and develop the space.

‘We’ll [do a] project together for a few hours on a Sunday. I made a video about one of those recently where we’re chopping down trees and planting the garden,’ Beau describes.

However, the world of property and land ownership isn’t necessarily designed for communal living. It can be difficult to qualify for a mortgage with multiple people, and it’s not always possible to build multiple structures on one piece of land.

Beau is originally from England (Picture: Supplied)
Beau is originally from England (Picture: Supplied)

‘You’re only allowed to build one structure like on a certain side plot. Insurance…all these things just don’t work for living in the community,’ Beau explains.

Beau lived in England until he was 20, when he moved to America. He was based on the east coast for a few years, and then he moved to San Francisco, which is where he lived when he heard about the intentional community.

Part of the reason he moved out of the city, he explains, was that he had a ‘very male’ friendship group.

‘I was really craving more female energy in my life, and here I met Elizabeth, and I love learning from her about communication, holding space when she hosts these play parties. It’s taught me so much about how to give and receive physical and emotional intimacy,’ Beau notes.

Naturally, living with the community is an incredibly diverse experience – one of Beau’s land mates is a trained clown, and another is a mythologist. There are gay men that live there, as well as bi women – and they even had their first straight man move in recently.

‘It’s like being in this magical fairy paradise. It goes so against that traditional model. With my old life it was me and one partner in a traditional house. I don’t need one partner to support me and grow – I can have this whole community who I’m really close to,’ he says, explaining that in the future, perhaps some of his land mates will have children and they’ll create this ‘beautiful home together.’

When he moved into the community, Beau’s vision of how he sees himself when he’s older shifted completely. Immediately, he understood that a different life was possible.

‘Instead of us just adopting the traditional model of life, we get to invent a structure that feels really good for us. In a queer community, people have different values than social norms – it’s typically more sex positive, we dress up in drag, we love to be creative and sometimes expressing those things in the normal world can be ostracised,’ he says.

Beau has made it his mission to share his experience living in a queer intentional community on his social media, notably on TikTok, where he frequently documents his life for his 95.7K followers.

In doing so, he hopes that other LGBTQ+ people will connect with his experience and perhaps even seek it out for themselves.

‘I get lots of messages from people saying, oh my god, I want to live like this. I also get some really sad, sweet messages from older gay men like ‘I wish I’d known about this 40 years ago, now my teeth are rotting’ or like ‘I just grew up in the wrong time.’ That makes me really sad,’ Beau concludes.

‘My goal is to make it more acceptable for people to discover projects through my social media. If you’re in the city and you feel disconnected, knowing that there are great communities all over the place – don’t just settle for feeling disconnected, seek it out.’

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