By C. Michael Forsyth
LONDON — Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of fairies are heterosexual, researchers now say.
“Homosexuality is almost unheard of among fairies,” reveals Neville Ardwicke, a leading folklorist in London and author of Unusual Inhabitants of the British Isles. “It’s estimated that fewer than 1 in 5,000 fairies have been involved in same-sex relationships. That’s a much, much smaller incidence than in the general human population.”
Due to their androgynous appearance, delicate bone structure, knack for arts and crafts and fondness for dancing about in the woods, it’s not surprising that fairies are widely presumed to be gay. But nothing could be further from the truth, according to the expert.
“They are robustly heterosexual,” says Ardwicke. “And when provoked, they can be formidable in combat, as anyone who’s been in a knife fight with one will readily attest.
“According to Arthurian lore, Sir Gawain waged a battle against the fairy knight Elwich that raged on for four days before ending in a stalemate. It’s noteworthy that the duel was over a woman, the fair Lady Rowena.”
From ancient times, when the earliest mention of fairies can be found in Mesopotamian folktales, through the Elizabethan era, the fact that the diminutive creatures are straight was generally understood.
“In Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the fairy king Oberon is depicted as heterosexual — a very virile and even overbearing he-man in a passionate relationship with his wife Titania,” the expert points out.
The misconception, experts say, grew out those infamous “fairy photographs” of the early 20th century. Although a handful have been authenticated, most are clearly fake, a product of trick photography that seems laughably crude by today’s standards, but was quite convincing to people of the time.
“Many respected intellectuals believed the fairy photos were real. Even Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, vouched for them,” says Ardwicke. “They drew conclusions about fairy behavior based on what was in the pictures.
“The photos typically show any male fairies walking hand in hand or gazing adoringly into each others’ eyes. The implication was obvious.”
Since then, fairies’ false rep for having “sugar in their shoes” has spread far and wide. That their spoken language is eerily sibilant, sounding to the modern ear something like a lisp, has only added fuel to the fire. By the 1930s, the word “fairy” was so associated with homosexuality that English speakers on both sides of the Atlantic began using it as a pejorative term for gays.
Dr. Howard Glenyear, author of the indispensable Fairy Encyclopedia, concurs with Ardwicke’s assertions.
“In my 30 years of fieldwork, I have never encountered a single gay fairy, and it’s not from lack of trying,” he declares. “You’ll sooner find a six-foot four, blue-eyed Chinaman.
“Homosexuality is exceedingly rare among fairies. Elves, that’s another story.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth
This writer’s most recent novel, Hour of the Beast has been hailed by Horror Fiction Review as a “fast-paced, rip-snorting, action-packed, sexy romp.” To check it out visit Amazon.com or save $4 by ordering it from freedomshammer.com.