July 1 News Letter out June 30

The by monthly news letter went out on June 30th to launch the weekend and let people know about coming events.

July 4th Weekend

It’s time for fireworks and picnics in the park. Patriotism is probably along party lines this year, but with this full on launch into summer I hope everyone has an amazing and blessed holiday weekend. Be safe out there. Drive safe out there. Live, Love and Laugh as much as you can. And for those headed out for the 4th of Juplaya … you so lucky! – Toaster & Queer Burners

In this issue of the monthly news letter:

  • Is this Newsletter worth it?
  • Placement Announced for 2017
  • 2017 Queer Camps List
  • Events
  • The Mechanics: How this email works

Hello… is anyone out there?

Is this news letter a value to the community? Our total list has swollen in the last couple days to 735 getting this email from 720ish. Frankly it has been at the same number for almost a year. Yet, as much pertinent information possible is collected and assembled 2x a month. As a backup many of the news letters have been published on our web site (www.QueerBurners.Com).

With some changes coming to the whole Queer Burners structure coming this year, this is also a chance for the community to be more directly involved and have a say in all publications and services offered by this site. Be the change you want to be.

Queer Burners Mission is simple: “A Mission of Building Community and Leadership”

Placement Announced

What exciting and earlier than anticipated news! According to Trippi Longstalking in a recent letter from Placement, the Placement announcements would not be out til the beginning of July. But that changed just a few days ago when we all started getting email notifications (as camp leaders) that … well, shit is going down. And that FILLED the air with excitement.

…and then as usual a map was created to try and give some reference to where camps were at and IF a semblance of the Queer Neighborhood would be kept in tact. There were A LOT OF REASONS to be worried. We lost Answergirl and especially Hepkitten this year who (to my knowledge) were among our strongest advocates. We have had awesome relationships with Placement but when the team changed so drastically this year we could only guess at what that might lead to.

Thank fully the Queer Neighborhood is present, but fractured in spite of the grouping shown. We have good proximity, but that is really not a Placement issue. As hard as it is to say, it is really up to people filling out the applications to be clear with what camps they want to be placed. If you wrote “I need to be in the Gayborhood”… there is no OFFICIAL Gayborhood so there is nothing for a Placer to latch on to. In many cases they do not know which camps are queer/gay/lesbian/trans or not. A stronger Queer Community means we have to be more on topic with our requests.

2017 Queer Burners Camp List

A new list is published today with a different format for best practices on the site. It will be live this afternoon. It is not too late to be added to it, but the graphic above can only hold so much. . Check out the 2017 Queer Burners Page on our web site. 

Events

This is a list of events we know about:

BURNING MAN 2017 – Hot Events

Submit your events for the news letter in the link below.

The Mechanics

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and helped keep this network thriving. As we get closer to event season there is room for more people to play in this garden. If you sign up on the Queer Burners web site and are verified, then you too can write posts and continue conversations relevant to the community at large. Thank you to so many of you.

Mid June News Letter

PRIDE MONTH!

It is the Summer of Love & Pride in San Francisco. There are so many amazing events they can’t ALL fit in here! Wherever your Pride is, this month or any other, please  enjoy it!!!

In this issue of the monthly news letter:

  • All Of Us event report
  • Announcements
  • 2017 Queer Camps List
  • Events
  • The Mechanics: How this email works

All Of Us

Our 3rd year with this event and our first using this branding has yielded unparalleled success.  Our team did such an amazing job on the production and it really was an amazing team effort.

Announcements

Burning Man is coming up quickly and in July the Placement department will start spelling out the city layout. Just this week Burning Man opened the listing for the What Where When booklets and camps submitted their planned events for the burn.

  • There are no plans for BRC Pride events except for a fun run organized by a Beaverton member. See BRC Pride on Facebook for links and info.
  • Here we are in Pride Month and nothing planned for Burning Man this year. If anyone wants to do more please go to BRC Pride on Facebook.

2017 Queer Burners Camp List

The list is taking shape and camps are seriously gearing up to get ready for “Radical Ritual” Burning Man 2017. Do not be one of those people who wait til the last minute to commit because you WILL be left out. Check out the 2017 Queer Burners Page on our web site. 

Events

This is a list of events we know about:

Submit your events for the news letter in the link below.

The Mechanics

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and helped keep this network thriving. As we get closer to event season there is room for more people to play in this garden. If you sign up on the Queer Burners web site and are verified, then you too can write posts and continue conversations relevant to the community at large. Thank you to so many of you.

All Of Us was fucking awesome

So, it’s been a week now since All Of Us ended. Many of the people involved in the magic are off doing the ALC (AIDS Life Cycle) ride from San Francisco to L.A.. So, as I write the official report on the event about money and critical things I await the details to fill in those pieces on the other web site. (www.lgbtproduction.org)

The event opened on Thursday noon and went through Monday noon after Memorial Day. It was the longest weekend we attempted before. It worked out well for so many! The space at www.saratogasprings.com was absolutely perfect. We have just under 150 people come out and thank goodness we managed to just break even on expenses versus income.

A Great Week

While these lovely people at the jacuzzi do not represent the diversity we had, we are proud that All Of Us brought a lot of new faces to the event. It was glorious…

There was a pop-up Jacuzzi party hosted by thee (in spirit) Whitney Houston on Thursday evening. It was a naked soirée in the hot water and it was fabulous. There were all kinds of wonderful human in the mix and the music was fantastic. The Jacuzzi was the most popular spot on the land at the end of any day – no wonder it was turning green by Sunday afternoon. We ended up closing it by then so the land could bring it back to life.

Each day progressed with a new layer of loveliness and unimaginable brilliance among all those who came out. There was so much love, uninhibited embrace, with no matter who was there or gender. We were blessed that our demographic did change on some level with a lot more women and gender non-conforming people that fit together and celebrated.

On a couple notes, there was a detailed waiver everyone signed when coming in and part of it talked about respecting other people and their boundaries. We did have a moment when someone was talking about trans-people openly with real trans persons just a few feet away and it was wrong and hurtful. We also talked about boundaries for consent and as it turned out someone did not heed that either. Someone was violated and we simply cannot allow those things to happen in our community. All Of Us is about unity and inclusiveness.

DJ Jason Godfrey on Decks at the back of the BAAAHS bus and next to The Journey
DJ Jason Godfrey on Decks at the back of the BAAAHS bus and next to The Journey

The Journey

The crown jewel of the event was the 30 foot long piece of this art piece going to Burning Man in 2017. Dan Reeves was the original visionary and his team of amazing humans who came out and set this up. It was celebrated every night!

 

It was part of the Art Garden that we had set up in front of the Heart Lodge along with Squares by Steve Dudek and Frames by www.visualsby3.com that was a great collection of installation pieces.

Friday night was a party at the art piece and the DJ’s sis an amazing job. The art was outstanding. The energy was awe-inspiring.

Saturday saw the majority of the workshops in all three tracks of the weekend while The Journey folks did live screen printing in front of the main Lodge. The Journey folks even set up a bar and served drinks as they did their magic.

  • Mental / Physical Health and Self Care
  • Acculturation and the 10 Principles
  • Leadership

The workshops were amazing and well orchestrated. The information was invaluable. We shared some amazing ideas and performed some exercises that made our participation and community stronger.

Meal Time

The food was amazing as well. Thank you to Jose for another year of delicious offerings. While we may have fell down on some of the vegetarian options we will do even better next year. But happily everyone got fed and our food and beverage team did a great job in the end. We are grateful that Jose came up from Mexico once again to help us!

We did daily Brunch and Dinner with snacks in between. The kitchen team seemed to be able to take it more easy this year which I was very glad for.

They even served hot dogs and snacks at the Sunday Pool Party (SPF) with bacon wrapped around them and on buns. Event the veggie dogs had a veggie bacon on them. Someone was heard saying: “They are really committed to bacon.” Well, this is a burner event, right?

 

Thank you to everyone who helped with volunteering.  The weekend could not happen without you. While we had some paid positions, many gave their time and energy to make this event happen. Who profited from it? Well, no one did. All the money that was left over is being folded back into the community.

The Gate ran flawlessly thanks to an amazing team there. Exodus was went just as smoothly. It with a sincere and deeply held feeling of appreciation to everyone to helped in making the magic either by being there or getting us there.

May Bi Monthly News Letter P2


It’s mid may and we are heading deep into Festival Season and Gay Pride. The year passes at such a high velocity some times it is hard to keep up with the latest and the greatest. Here is our quick and dirty attempt.

In this issue of the monthly news letter:

  • All Of Us Update
  • 2017 Queer Camps List
  • Events
  • The Mechanics: How this email works

All Of Us

Many thanks to the many people who bought the many tickets to the most amazing event we have ever produced. Literally, we have a catalog of things for the weekend that are beyond the anything we could have imagined over the last couple years. We will miss Groundswell for sure, but this new area is larger and wider with more amenities. Not quite surviving in the desert, but why not treat yourself before that happens… right?

 

What was formerly the Queer Burner Retreat is now All Of Us event. It is the only regional style event in the world focused on LGBTQ++ participants in the Burning Man culture. It is a 10 Principles based event with a mission of fostering Community & Leadership. We also seek to see others rise into their own in whatever forms they take that goes to the next level of participation and doing.

  • ALL PARTICIPANTS must have legal identification when checking in at the gate showing they are at least 18 years or older.
  • Everyone will have to complete a waiver agreement when coming in. It would be really helpful if you had it printed and filled out before you came – LINKED HERE
  • Need a ride or can offer one? Sign-up on the Carpool – LINKED HERE
  • Sign up early for your volunteer role – LINKED HERE
  • Sign up for workshops – LINKED HERE
  • Housing / Food Needs – LINKED HERE

The waiver has some language in it that is very important. Please look it over carefully. And yes, in order to come into the event it must be completed with your identification. All participants will have to wear a colored bracelet upon check in:

  • 1 color if under 21
  • another color if 21 plus
  • and/or another if you do not want to appear in photos or video

We want everyone to feel safe and welcome.

Some quick facts:

  • IF you are in a bed you MUST have bedding. There is a place to order it on the Eventbrite. Or, you may be required to buy it when you arrive unless you have your own.
  • Bring your own towels, toiletries, cup … just like going to Burning Man
  • SCREEN PRINTING at ALL OF US!!! Bring a t-shirt or garment for large screen prints
    “The Journey” is printing art logo prints and the All Of Us Official Logo
    You can bring t-shirts, coats, anything that can take screen printing
  • There are 2 meals a day : 10 am Brunch & 6:30 Dinner : & snacks
  • There is a lot of activities from amazing hiking to pool and jacuzzi space
  • This is a clothing optional event (except in dining room and kitchen)
  • NO GLASS is allowed in the pool area at any time
  • SMOKING IN DESIGNATED AREAS ONLY
  • Bring your favorite bottle(s) for you and to share with your fellow campers along with any desired mixers. There is no open bar… but I bet someone will share. But… radical self reliance… BRING A CUP makes it a lot easier
    *anyone giving persons under 21 alcohol will be asked to leave *

2017 Queer Burners Camp List

The list is taking shape and camps are seriously gearing up to get ready for “Radical Ritual” Burning Man 2017. Do not be one of those people who wait til the last minute to commit because you WILL be left out. Check out the 2017 Queer Burners Page on our web site. 

Events

This is a list of events we know about:

Submit your events for the news letter in the link below.

The Mechanics

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and helped keep this network thriving. As we get closer to event season there is room for more people to play in this garden. If you sign up on the Queer Burners web site and are verified, then you too can write posts and continue conversations relevant to the community at large. Thank you to so many of you.

ALL OF US IMPORTANT EMAIL

So this list of important things went out on 5/16 for All Of Us and only got 63% opens. While that is good for 1 day everyone must have this information for when they arrive. It is extremely helpful if the clicks are there before you arrive for classes, volunteering and the other stuff… all very important. Please take a looksie:

All Of Us event 2017

UPPER LAKE, CALIFORNIA

This email has links and information about many important factors when preparing for the event. This includes ride share and getting involved through the week. This is a 10 principle event which means everyone is expected to help out a little each day for:
1. Community Engagement
2. Immediacy
3. LNT – Leave No Trace
4. Radical Self Reliance
5. Radical Inclusion
So help us out by being prepared mentally and physically so we can present an amazing event designed with you in mind.

In just a matter of days it all happens once again. What was formerly the Queer Burner Retreat is now All Of Us event. It is the only regional style event in the world focused on LGBTQ++ participants in the Burning Man culture. It is a 10 Principles based event with a mission of fostering Community & Leadership. We also seek to see others rise into their own in whatever forms they take that goes to the next level of participation and doing.

  • ALL PARTICIPANTS must have legal identification when checking in at the gate showing they are at least 18 years or older.
  • Everyone will have to complete a waiver agreement when coming in. It would be really helpful if you had it printed and filled out before you cameLINKED HERE
  • Need a ride or can offer one? Sign-up on the Carpool – LINKED HERE
  • Sign up early for your volunteer role – LINKED HERE
  • Sign up for workshops – LINKED HERE
  • Housing / Food Needs – LINKED HERE

The waiver has some language in it that is very important. Please look it over carefully. And yes, in order to come into the event it must be completed with your identification. All participants will have to wear a colored bracelet upon check in:

  • 1 color if under 21
  • another color if 21 plus
  • and/or another if you do not want to appear in photos or video

We want everyone to feel safe and welcome.

Some quick facts:

  • IF you are in a bed you MUST have bedding. There is a place to order it on the Eventbrite. Or, you may be required to buy it when you arrive unless you have your own.
  • Bring your own towels, toiletries, cup … just like going to Burning Man
  • SCREEN PRINTING at ALL OF US!!! Bring a t-shirt or garment for large screen prints
    “The Journey” is printing art logo prints and the All Of Us Official Logo
    You can bring t-shirts, coats, anything that can take screen printing
  • There are 2 meals a day : 10 am Brunch & 6:30 Dinner : & snacks
  • There is a lot of activities from amazing hiking to pool and jacuzzi space
  • This is a clothing optional event (except in dining room and kitchen)
  • NO GLASS is allowed in the pool area at any time
  • SMOKING IN DESIGNATED AREAS ONLY
  • Bring your favorite bottle(s) for you and to share with your fellow campers along with any desired mixers. There is no open bar… but I bet someone will share. But… radical self reliance… BRING A CUP makes it a lot easier
    *anyone giving persons under 21 alcohol will be asked to leave *

May 2017 News Letter

It’s already a week into May and this news letter is just getting out. That’s right, it’s a busy month for all of us. Speaking of which: ALL OF US is just days away! I bet you are dying to know how you can get out there and get tickets to this amazing thing! Keep reading …

In this issue of the monthly news letter:

  • All Of Us Update
  • 2017 Queer Camps List
  • Events
  • The Mechanics: How this email works

All Of Us

An email is coming out in a few days to the attendees of the event with some important information. There are the usual event like things in it, but events like this are very rare. As for hype, the truth is there is no other 10 Principles event that is made for LGBTQ people specifically. It is an extension of community and gathering that will hopefully inspire others to carry that flag further.

Yes, there will be limited ticket sales at the gate, but we need advance sales so we can adequately plan for food and services.

 

2017 Queer Burners Camp List

The list is taking shape and camps are seriously gearing up to get ready for “Radical Ritual” Burning Man 2017. Do not be one of those people who wait til the last minute to commit because you WILL be left out. Check out the 2017 Queer Burners Page on our web site. 

Events

This is a list of events we know about:

Submit your events for the news letter in the link below.

The Mechanics

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and helped keep this network thriving. As we get closer to event season there is room for more people to play in this garden. If you sign up on the Queer Burners web site and are verified, then you too can write posts and continue conversations relevant to the community at large. Thank you to so many of you.

April 2017 Part 2 News Letter

There is a new voice to the posts on Queer Burners and soon some new looks. Check out some of the latests posts and be sure to consider one of your own. Just let the admin know you are posting so we can make sure it gets out there. Posts only, please.

In this issue of the monthly news letter:

  • All Of Us Update
  • Burning Man Global Leadership Event in Oakland
  • 2017 Queer Camps List
  • Events
  • The Mechanics: How this email works

All Of Us

Full steam ahead. Don’t wait too long to get your tickets. And, stay in touch to see all the super mazing things that are happening [click] with all our banners for all the cool stuff!

Burning Man Global Leadership Event in Oakland

Want to know a wee bit more about the GLC and the Gayborhood. How are we responsible for our own future? Here is a nice follow up from the previous post [click].

2017 Queer Burners Camp List

The list is taking shape and camps are seriously gearing up to get ready for “Radical Ritual” Burning Man 2017. Do not be one of those people who wait til the last minute to commit because you WILL be left out. Check out the 2017 Queer Burners Page on our web site. 

Events

This is a list of events we know about:

Submit your events for the news letter in the link below.

The Mechanics

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and helped keep this network thriving. As we get closer to event season there is room for more people to play in this garden. If you sign up on the Queer Burners web site and are verified, then you too can write posts and continue conversations relevant to the community at large. Thank you to so many of you.

GLC: What about it?

The Global Leadership Conference hosted by Burning Man in Oakland at the beginning of the month was an amazing experience. This was my 5th or 6th one. When one starts forgetting those details then it feels like maybe it’s time to slow down? IDK… but I was super grateful to see so many people there.

People have since asked regarding the last post: “GLC: Gayborhood Broken Up?” questions like where is the queer representation at BMorg? With the Census showing an LGBTQ population hovering about 30% [2016 Report] of Black Rock City are we represented in the org the same way? When it comes to Ethnic Diversity and other populations anyone can ask the same question.

After my experience at the GLC and my interactions with BMorg there is a resounding yes (regarding representation), but there are some consistent problems with the BMorg as far as being able to react to Sexual Identity and Ethnic needs in the community that are slowly getting the recognition they have sorely needed over the years.

This is my 9th year in the community and when I tell you I have seen some real shit hit the fan, I have. BUT, I have also seen certain bodies of the BMorg really bounce right back to save the moment. There are some heroes up there.

The Conference

Let’s focus on some of the positives. This year there were more community leaders brought into the fold than ever before. This also included Theme Camp leaders and more diverse community leaders with various agendas. While some of these agendas were Ethnic, some were about Disability Access, and others were about creating new space to commune and make community.

Not to harp on myself, but my first GLC was as a Community Leader for the Las Vegas community and then each year following I went to talk about the Gayborhood. I also talked vigorously about safety for queers and women which is already documented well in the scope of this site.

There were queer leaders from all over the country. Many of whom lead Queer Burner regional message boards listed here on this site. It is also fair to say, without outing anyone who is not ready to be outed, that there are top level people who identify as LGBTQ.

We have many many allies, but that does not mean we have a free pass. Queer Burners as a community has to toil and resolve issues like everyone else in the community. There are issues we have to fight against but that is minutia compared to the scope of what we do for a week out of the year and how we bring Burning Man ideology to our communities.

And that is the key! Burning Man mission statement has been pared down to something very simple about bringing the 10 Principles to the world and creating community with that. Burners Without Boards and the Burning Man Project have been the pivot point on all that.

Us v. Them

Thinking there is an ‘us versus them mentality’ is not really conducive to a positive outcome. There is no such thing. If we want something from this community, we have to ask or demand it. If it happens through our Theme Camp Applications or where we spend our money then those are strong voices.

  • Going back to the Gayborhood question: Radical Self Reliance means we have to put in our applications who we want to be camped near and where.
  • If queers feel unsafe at Burning Man because of dangers growing out of a surging tourist culture then there are other places to spend and get value from that $425 dollar ticket.
  • If the dissolution of 10 Principles ideology is making it hard to be part of the burn, then become an activist and use Immediacy to start your own – thing.

As with any institution there are ways to work within the scope of the community or with our freedom; we can make our own. For many of us Burning Man is something we cherish. We might see some scars but the bigger picture is the value of those few days a year we get to create something amazing.

Schedules

The GLC had a lot of sessions that were very valuable. If you can go next year then by all means go. As this was my 5th or 6th year it has become almost a 2nd Burning Man trip for me… without the dust. I have allies that are there as well as people who would see my work torn apart.

I will post about the workshops and some feedback about them in my next post.

Conclusion

Sorry about the brevity and lack of content in this post. I wanted to share some thoughts about what I perceive as our individual responsibilities in this community to our goals in the Burning Man Community. Queer Burners comes in behind that somewhere as well as your Theme Camp and Yourself in any order that works for you.

We get what we petition for. If this is a chorus rather than one guy shouting like a crazy guy in the street that is very different. If we want the Gayborhood then we have to ask for it. We have to find our strategic partner camps and unite with them and put that in the application.

As far as who is representing us at Burning Man we have a lot of strong voices. For every twenty people there is maybe 1 neigh-sayer. We really do have more allies than not. The only thing I would like to discourage is letting other people be your voice… be your own voice and be heard.

Where are we that….?

Over the years that I have been doing things under the banner of Queer Burner (formerly Gay Burners) it has taken many forms. As the primary voice on this project it has been my chief goal to unite queer burners and make a fun play space for all those who would like to play in this amazing sand box.

Like on any playground, there are bullies. There are people who would thrust their point of view on other around them in spite of facts or truths. We do live in an age where there is “truthiness” and “alt-truths” and revisionist history that seek to drive a narrative that is increasingly questioned by some and ignored by others.

In the scope of that, calling out white privilege has been a big subject. At the Burning Man Global Leadership Conference this April 2017 in Oakland, California there was a 2 hour discussion from a black woman to a widely mixed audience. The smartest thing a white male could do was to listen and observe, but that was too much for some of us. You can imagine the results.

This week we put a survey on one of our Facebook Groups : Queer Burners Global Social Network :

  • Patience. Calm. Honesty. Maybe reflect a moment before answering. There is a reasonable expectation that the Gayborhood / Rainbow Road is going to be very different in 2017. If the Queer Neighborhood is decentralized will this effect your burn?

The feedback has been amazing. The ability to answer in the scope of the poll was limited. Read through the comments and see some of what happen, because it is awesome. However, a lot of people had no problem with the dissolution of the Gayborhood. BTW: they were mostly white and male (as of last check).

Some battles have been strange and interesting. If you read the trip report from the 2016 Burn there was a meeting with Placement at a queer camp (Sun Guardians) where in mostly queer camps came to meet with Placement and have a conversation about being neighborly: this was not a meeting about Queer Camps.

There were two attendees that highjacked the meeting and tried to make it about the merits of the Gayborhood, but we were able to steer it away. Among them was a person with a complex and strong voice from the White Ocean camp who clearly was dealing with his own demons.

The second person was a member of the temple crew  whose partner wanted nothing to do with the direction of the conversation.

This week someone named Tom Steward posted publicly his feelings about the Gayborhood and this submission was an echo of sentiment from other voices in the minority about the Gayborhood:

  • Gays are in no more danger than anyone else at burning man. No need for a gayborhood unless you want easy cruising. Gays should be sprinkled lightly over the entire city. We are a gay camp and have never felt threatened and dislike that gays are segregated.” – Tom posted this with his email address and IP. It was a public submission through the feedback form and he had some feelings to share.

Tom reflects the feelings of some other burners; most often it is a voice of people who feel rejected by the Gayborhood and it’s residents. In my 9 years burning I have seen an amazing evolution of queer camps who have worked very very very hard to make their camps and residents more inclusive and welcoming. We have evolved and ask to see if your perception can evolve with us.

Even if the Gayborhood is broken into 2, if it is dissolute, it will evolve and survive. But with that, people who find a sense of safety with it are the people Burning Man is trying to reach. It’s not just an ethnic loss, it’s the loss of diversity on another level.

E very person I have seen asking for the breakup of the Gayborhood was a gay white male sharing a point of view that excluded anyone else in the scope of what they proposed to be destroyed. Objectively these people are missing a lot of facts.

  • we conducted surveys of the community and found clear data that there were significant threats to personal safety against gender ambiguous, trans and specifically female identified people in the scope of the survey sent to Queer Burner members.  The results are on this site from last year.
  • his expression of “we” seems to be limited to his white, gay camp mates of a mysterious camp yet unidentified.

Queers and people of color do not move through community like everyone. We (they) are usually aware of their environments for specific safety reasons. We do not walk through a neighborhood assuming safety. It is the same in the world and the same at Burning Man. With the commercialization of Burning Man, with the Bucket List thinking, we have to step up our game for safety and community support more and more.

GLC: Gayborhood Broken up?

The Burning Global Leadership Conference (#bmglc2017) (GLC) was last weekend and one question has been on my mind: will Placement be breaking up the Gayborhood / Rainbow Road / Queer Neighborhood? We do not know. But there were people who approached me saying the same thing:

The Rumor Patrol was running around the event and reported:

  • “…there was a placer in one of my sessions who confirmed that the Gayborhood was being broken up”

Burning Man Placement is about to undergo some major changes in that Answergirl is leaving her role as the head of Placement; a role she held for about a year. She has been and acted as a advocate for LGBT needs and the needs of the citizens of our community. On top of that a favorite Placer for Burning Man who had traditionally handled the Gayborhood is leaving Burning Man altogether; Hepkitten is moving on.

When asked for an official statement about the breakup of the Gaybohood; e.g. where Placement is on the issue Answergirl had a very defensive posture and reaction that took me back.  I assured Answergirl I was not an adversary but I should be looked at as a tool for communicating to the community as a whole.

Per Answergirl: (paraphrased quotes)

  • we have 350 applications for a space that holds 250
  • the theme camp application form is still open we do not know how many are asking
  • we included a part of the form about lgbt allies and will group people accordingly…

Burning Man’s official position from Answergirl is that they try and meet everyones needs in the scope of the application process. They do their best to meet everyone’s needs. There is no official Gayborhood to consider breaking up, because it is not officially recognized. So, asking if Placement is breaking up the Gayborhood is not the right question.

All that is certainly true within the scope of how Burning Man looks at it’s community and placement. Queer camps are not acknowledged differently than non-queer camps.  The Gayborhood has existed since the late 1990’s and has only come together because of the way people filled out their applications and with some support with placers like Hepkitten.

How do we keep the BMorg from dividing us? Do we care if they do. It is my opinion that placement in 2016 did splatter us on the map. With the shooting at the Pulse night Club in June 2016 was the idea to break things up pushed back?

And what about safety for vulnerable LGBT burners on playa? Check out that information and more on this page under the tag: #controversy

Answergirl went on to say in a way that was heartfelt, that it breaks her heart to know that some people go to Burning Man who do not feel safe there. It is not just LGBT people who struggle with safety, but a lot of women and other ethnic people in a world dominated by:

  • straight, white, (mostly) male entitlement and
  • an upsurge in tourist and festival goers (See Burn.Life article)
  • a steady loss of burners bringing the burner ethos & life style

The answer is… we don’t know. Answergirl had no answer other than a few bullet points on official policy but would not say there is any plan officially. Bravo Placer is likely to be her replacement and though we met him at the May 2016 meeting with Queer Camp leaders, we really do not know him. No matter what, I think we can be best to be prepared for something different in 2017. One thing I know is for certain, we have people who know how to roll with the punches and bounce back strong.

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