Community

When listening to old Larry Harvey speeches COMMUNITY is the same reason Burning Man was founded and allowed to evolve. We build a city every year with a gift based economy and sew the seeds of love that inspire almost super-human creations; then we burn it all down and come back the following year. It is the life cycle of a phoenix over and over again.

“Community is the result of a group of people
striving for a common purpose.” – unknown

Most of us strive for a diverse and interesting population we are welcoming guests into our camps for various functions on the playa better than we do in the default world sometimes. We find comfort in out cliques and forget through the glass bubble that people on the outside can just as easily see in. For the Queer Burner population we have been challenged at an even higher standard from within and out to make ourselves accessible and escapable. That is the Gayborhood has been unfairly accused of being a wall keeping people in and out. Some camps have been accused of the same, but many of us have worked hard to show them they have no foundation for that claim.

“Well it seems to me, that all real communities grow out of a
shared confrontation with survival.Communities are
not produced by sentiment or mere goodwill. They
grow out of a shared struggle. Our situation in
the desert is an incubator for community.”
– Larry Harvey

In the comfort of our camps and social groups the unintentional barriers based on looks, social similarities and basic needs exclude some people. Again, some camps have worked very hard to turn that image around with tremendous success. Others have been less willing to forgive and others have enjoyed the bounty of more mature and less synical memories of the past and looked to a shining bright future.

The Gayburbs out at 4:30 & I:
This space developed as queer camps began
coalescing with the familiar for neighbors who
made the experience safer.

As leaders in the community we have a responsibility to our people. Radical self reliance is a good principle to live by, BUT watching your team-mate’s back is also important to solid. We have those camp mates that do not use self-care and sometimes it is by choice or reaction to the new world around them. The weather and the fervor of the TTITD event can be overwhelming. By watching out for a fellow beings we further strengthen the bonds of our foundation.

What defines community?

The people behind the common goal. It really takes those who can see the vision of a unified force to speak up and stand out and then show the leadership qualities that create the wake that others follow in. We have our leadership and we have our participants. The ties that bind us are the thin string of individual faith and unspoken desire to be safe and secure that we rally behind. Sometimes, as we have seen time and time again, is merely proximity. Sometimes safety and community develops out of something greater. But we do it together.

People: Puck

2b96c9106b94c0ad577d7008d33029ed-bpfullHe was one of the earliest Queers to land on the playa and be queer. Not just weird queer but freak fag flag waving homo with other homos making an impact on this new thing called Burning Man in 1993. He was a part a of a new wave of people coming to the playa and making a bold new statement. That group would eventually start the first version of the Gayborhood when queer camps began networking.

purkissGayborhood_html_64f6cfe9
1993

Puck (Nathan) wrote an amazing piece recounting burner history from when a group of guys wandered out to the playa way back when and laid the foundation that would one day become Mudskippers Urban Decay Cafe and even AstroPups and more. And eventually Avalon Village that became the Gayborhood.

Read Nathan’s piece LINKED HERE

 

People: Mario

Mario CisnerosMario was a lead for a camp called Moonbow Camp that was, when I started my burner adventure, a special place on the playa. They were at 3:30 and A when I first went to their camp for the Official Gay Burner Meetup in its day. He brought us the official gay meetup and the Gay Pride Parade that started at the man.

Up there to the far left is Mario with the bullhorn. This to the right is also him in his better days. He was a force to be reckoned with and an inspiration for me in the work I have done to make Queer Burners into something. Because of him and a parcel of other people it is why I am determined to make this project a success.

I put a link to the picture above, taken by another amazing human in our community from Burner Buddies. It shows the first Gay Pride parade at Burning Man orchestrated by Mario and his friends in 2008.

When Mario passed in 2012 it was a deeply felt shock. I wish people could appreciate that someone like him had such a brief and profound impact on me in the community. We spoke a matter of days before he passed on the phone and he cheered me on. I had no idea how sick he was. He cheered me on and spoke words of encouragement. Then I left memories of him at the temple and tried to carry the torch he carried a few more years longer.

  • The previous posts talking about our burner leaders was posted under the collective name. This one is more personal. This one is from me.   Toaster

 

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