Education is Everything: Better Behavior Through Learning

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Here’s what I remember being surprised by the most during my first visit to Black Rock City, in 1998: No garbage cans.

I had come utterly unprepared, and had little idea what going to Burning Man meant. Traveling separately from my only other friend who was going, I grabbed a spot on the Green Tortoise, packed a couple of bags, and made my way to the playa.
Danger Ranger, Burning Man Cultural Ambassador, 2013 (photo by Mark Hammon)Danger Ranger, Burning Man Cultural Ambassador, 2013 (photo by Mark Hammon)

Even today, I frequently recall wandering the Esplanade during Burning Man 1998, a wad of garbage in my hand, and simply not grokking why there was no place to throw my trash. Having failed to read the Survival Guide, that just didn’t make any sense to me. Not that I was the kind of person to blithely toss crap on the ground, but I had no idea what to do. Eventually, I found a nook in some wooden structure crammed with others’ refuse, and jammed mine in alongside.

See the original source of the post here: CLICK HERE

 

The last word on Plug n Play (PnP) Camps

Burning Man posted 2 items on this subject this week giving us the defining and final decision on the subject. It is something that many members of the community have been up in arms about because to many – the existence of these camps appeared to be in direct opposition to the 10 Principles we all hold dear.

On December 3rd two blogs were released on the blog.burningman.org “Voices of Burning Man” page; one form legendary Larry Harvey and one from the Borg.

founder Larry HarveyIn the midst of the current controversy about Plug and Play camps, there has been a great deal of talk about equality, but I think that much of this misses the mark. Scan Burning Man’s Ten Principles, and you will not find radical equality among them. This is because our city has always been a place where old and young, and rich and poor, can live on common ground. The word for this is fellowship, as in the fellowship of a club or lodge whose members, however diverse, are united by common values and a sense of shared experience. But common ground is not a level playing field, and should not be interpreted as mandating equal living conditions.” – Larry Harvey [Link to the entire piece]

However, the real meat and potatoes came from a much more definitive post listed as from Burning Man that followed Lord Larry’s post. Together these releases provide the Burning Man COMMUNITY the final answer when it comes to the Commodified and #turnkeycamps; basically setting the standard back to the level any theme camp applying for placement needs to meet.

Below is from the Burning Man Blog: [Link to the entire article]

  • Camps should be visually stimulating, have an inviting design and a plan for bike parking and crowd management.
  • Camps must be interactive. They should include activities, events or services within their camps and they must be available to the entire Burning Man community.
  • Camps must be neighborly. This includes keeping sound within set limits, controlling where camp generators vent exhaust, and easily resolving any boundary disputes that arise.
  • Camps must have a good previous MOOP record 
(for returning camps).
  • Camps must follow safety protocols designed by the organization (this includes traffic management on the streets, proper handling of fuels, and any other areas defined by the organization’s production team).

end quote

Basically, we are interpreting that Turn Key Camps have to meet the same standards as Theme camps for placement. And we seemed to have received an apology in the end as well as a set of changes we can live with moving forward for the betterment of the community.

It therefore follows that the best reform we can enact is to stop placing these Plug and Play camps in a category that sets them apart from others. This was done informally, it was not fully thought out, and we apologize for this mistake.” – Larry Harvey [Link to the entire piece]

Is Burning Man getting too Gay?

Burning Man Gay Pride

The message that Burning Man started off with, the 10 Principles, are the same thing the LGBTQ community has sought from the world at-large as long as many of us have been alive. When a group of San Francisco based hippies are screaming it we believe it because the bay area has been the voice of independence and personal liberties for many years. But since June 28, 1969 we started fighting back for it. The messages attracting queers is:

  1. 08282012_burn-303Everyone is welcome
  2. No money needed, give from the heart expect nothing back
  3. Let’s get rid of the corporate bullshit
  4. Stand strong on your own
  5. Express yourself freely and honestly
  6. Stand strong on your own but a community is stronger
  7. Your community is stronger when it is responsible to itself and the environment
  8. Keep our world clean
  9. Get involved and no sitting on the sidelines
  10. …and act. Act now. Act up.

While these are interpretations of the official 10 Principles from the Burning Man web site the words are the dream of many LGBTQ++.

Demographics

See the data for 2013 and 2014 where we can clearly see a surge in fluid sexuality out numbering the self identifying heterosexual attendees.

“The largest percentages for the overall, male, and female samplings represented heterosexual Burners, however, for the group identifying as fluid/neither gender, only 17% of them chose heterosexual as their orientation. The overall data depicts the Playa as a largely hetero, but bicurious environment. The same was true for females Burners. However, the male population was largely hetero with the second-most reported orientation as gay, while the fluid/neither Burners were mostly bisexual and refused labels”. [quote]

The 2014 data was presented in much more detail than in previous years and put the details in a well written presentation. #demographics

The Gayborhood

3This space along the 7:30 corridor since 2013 is an attraction at Burning Man and an impact on the event itself. There has been a lot of information posted over the years under the category #gayborhood. It is huge! It’s a huge leap from the beginnings back in the late 90’s detailed here and on the Mudskippers web site.

What people are saying…

While the culture of Burning Man is that all their kids should be able to play nicely in the same sandbox many of us know homophobia on the playa in spite of the glitter in our eyes. But we have a huge gulf between ourselves and how we approach the culture we are a part of. While snarky queers look down their nose at the Gayborhood there are still others exploring it for the first time even with a lot of playa time behind them.

Burning Man is not a gay event. No, it is not. There is an undeniable effect on identity and orientation as people selectively explore the boundaries of their sexuality at the burn. There are more and more stories of gay men having self-identified straight boyfriends while out there.

While the diversity in our approach to our sexual orientation, lives and sexual identity are as diverse as our heterosexual community, snark and

all, tearing ourselves down or putting others down for who they are – is self destruction.

Burning Man Gay Pride

Conclusion

The demographics from Burning Man are amazing. We are a strong presence and more than what the census says. One simply cannot turn around without running into people who would be under the LGBTQ banner whether they accept the label or not.

MOOP: the word of the week

Burning Man calls out a camp on one of the first renditions of the MOOP Map published on their blog and it is spawning a lot of discussions that are very important for the future of Burning Man. Is Burning Man devolving into a Coachella? Oh, that there is still icing for that cake!

MOOP: Matter Out Of Place: LNT: Leave No Trace: 1 of the 10 Principles

It does not happen very often, especially in these later Burner years, when the Borg calls someone out for their ultimate fail. Gypsy Flower Camp run by John Moonshine (whose profile says he is from Gerlach but it looks like he was from San Francisco?) left behind one of the largest messes seen on the playa.

Not only with MOOP, but it seems there was some unseemly behavior by the camp coordinator for his bad

Gypsy Flower Power abandoned moop, Burning Man 2014
Gypsy Flower Power abandoned moop, Burning Man 2014

attempt to create a plug and play (pnp) style camp that fell way short of it’s promise to people who bought into the camp.

Failure of the plug and play scenario seemed to be the permission needed for people who ended up camping there to leave the trash and other items behind. Read the comments on the September 19th post from The Hun (a member of the Playa Restoration Team) because there were people who made sincere efforts to make up for the failure of camp leadership but there is a stink going on here that is not just trash.

Poo? Human Poo? In bags left to be picked up by other people? Yes… shocking as hell to think about it. We have used pee-bottles casually enough and a whole new level has been reached.

Burning Man 2014 Highway CleanupThe article posted today sites trends of found items. They track these things in order to address them in future conversations:

  • bags of poop. That’s human feces, in bags, undoubtedly left behind by the people who were forced to camp along the embankments [quote]
  • arge numbers of broken hexayurt panels wound up littering the highway, scattering little bits of styrofoam through the sage. [quote]

180 miles of Deluge

garbage_final1Leaving the Burn every year there was clearly abandoned bundles of garbage left all along 447 heading into Wadsworth, running through Gerlach, Empire, Nixon that made one’s stomach turn. In our minds we may chose to believe that these were accidental, but the deluge was shocking.

Highway cleanup reports picking up “24 pickup beds’ worth of roadside detritus”. While the blogs give out props to some people for making strong efforts the results of humans invading the desert are creating an impact that is disastrous.

“My truck alone picked up 64 contractor bags of trash, 30 tires, 20 yurt panels and a bunch of miscellaneous stuff,” Ninjalina says.

~ Leaving No Trace ~
The Burning Man community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Conclusion

Leave No Trace is one of the fundamentals that allow us access to the Black Rock Desert and if it were not for the playa restoration team our access would have been withdrawn a long time ago. Seems like in 2014 patience was running thin, at least according to the Sept 20th blog post by The Hun, when “Highway Cleanup began out of respect for local communities, who were tired of their environment being littered with Burner detritus” and with good reason.

The argument of PnP camps impact on the community is an argument for another post. The failures at Gypsy Flower Camp is not especially shocking in the scope of things though the September 19th blog post seems to imply it was the most shocking ever seen. Witnesses in the comments section share similar failings of other camps, but anyone who stayed late on the playa will tell you (including this author) that Leave No Trace and self responsibility is waning.

Decompression

What is your decompression? Starting from the moment of Exodus in anticipation of that 6 to 8 hour wait to get to 447? Seeing Gerlach ahead, the steaming hot springs in the tall grass along the road, a dead Gypsum Mine in the distance? The Default World was just ahead, past the curve in the road and down a long path dotted with rabbit and squirrel poop.

Before the playa dust has completely settled and our heads have stopped spinning, many gather in the months after Burning Man to “decompress” by taking one more communal plunge into the depths of what we found so affirming and memorable at Burning Man, sharing playa art, performances, theme camps, photos, videos and stories from the playa. We re-connect with family and friends, and collaborate to create new art. Decompression is, at its simplest, a reunion. But more significantly, it is a powerful way to bring Burning Man inspiration to our home towns!

– quote: Burning Man Home Page

There are a lot of ways locally and the the BMorg to make your decompression even better. Regional events will pepper the world and there is the wing-doodle big ass decom  in San Francisco in October.

How was your burn?

That depends on your level of responsibility with the burn. From Theme Camp Organizers to Sparkle Ponies. A theme camp leader is someone to be appreciated if that person was successful and led a camp that lasted the whole week without chaos let alone a single argument. 628x471Camp mates who appreciate that and are knowledgeable of the 10 Principles are ideal to that mini-community.

Burgins and Sparkle Ponies are the special spices in the pot and their success or failure really ends up being a reflection of their support network. While each person is responsible for themselves, we intentionally want our Burgins to succeed. Sparkle Ponies – well let’s just do our best to keep them alive.

And who watches out for “all the above”? Rangers and LEO have to decompress too. While Queer Burners has a lot of Rangers in it’s ranks it seems we added a lot of more swept into their ranks this year. So exciting!

So was yours the highs or the lows?

Where does it start?

Does it begin in the Grilled Ham and Cheese at Bruno’s in Gerlach? The Wigwam in Wadsworth? The Sand Hotel and Casino in Reno? Or is it after the long journey to wherever your reside in the world?

Burning-Man-ClosedSome us have an official chance, at least by Burning Man’s definition, soon. San Francisco Queer Burners are hooking up Monday the Lookout September 21st and there is the big one by BMorg October 12.

 

 

*Header image is the Comfort & Joy breakdown team.

Balance

It had occurred to me that there is at times a lack of balance with some of the things we involve ourselves within the community (Burner community). As a blogger here on this site and others I have been very critical of BMorg on those occasions; they do make it so very easy. I will explain this a little more later.

Balance is a key to life in many areas of our existence and finding it ideally brings harmony. At least that is what some spiritual good feeling stuff tells us. While we can be critical of BMorg and it’s operators true analysis comes in examining the whole picture.

BMP-Board-of-Directors
Burning Man Project Board of Directors

The Scales of Thought

The ticket fiasco in 2012 is one of the best examples of finding balance in a difficult situation that hit the community and affected all of us. As most know, the ticket lottery in 2012 was a solid brown poo on the heads of many of us who have been engaged in the community. Many seasoned burners were so pissed off from it they walked away and never looked back. While these extreme reactions are not un-typical here is something as an example:

– ticket lottery | + expanded ticket dispersal for theme camps /  artists
– BMorgs initial reaction | + acknowledgement of problem (though late)

Albeit extremely simplistic in its context you kinda get the idea with the handy +’s and -‘s, right?

Balance comes in other areas too, which we recently explored in another article where this author reflected within the Queer Burner community. Camp leadership needs to be present and have their heads in the game, especially when they have multiple souls under their roof. Much of Comfort & Joy has learned to master this balance and will hopefully be sharing that wisdom at the 2014 Queer Burner Leadership Summit.

lead camp | find personal time
setup, build and breakdown camp | enjoy the fruits of labor
get people doing their chores | enjoy the kinship formed

Courage Under Fire

The community and the leadership are always up to whatever challenge is laid at their feet. Recently in Burners.Me an argument was made about the long existing Burner Man Project leadership stepping down. While rolling into a non-profit was a solution for protecting the cohesion and brand of Burning Man with a clever legal structure with the facade of bringing more to the community what has it really done?

So who is under fire more? BMorg leadership or the community? While the house of the BMorg is made of glass the villagers are too stoned to really grasp the complexity of this relationship. Balance often comes late from the people held so highly and balance gets mired down in the expectations of the people who consider themselves devotees to the cause.

Many members of the community demand a drama free zone without concern or focus on the leaders of this community. Being held to the light of the flames the people driving Burning Man bear the cross when the gray lines of the 10 principles are being applied ___ like they were scripture.

Burning Man Leaders

Let’s go back in time to “Green Man” in 2007 where for the first and last time ever the people who brought you Burning Man allowed sandwiches to be sold at center camp and ‘green vendors’ showing their wares. The green_manramifications of allowing these elements into an event that talked about Decommodification was loud. But, who can fault the organizers for trying something new?

Selling coffee was new once, but these days no one could imagine center camp not having coffee or the amazing people selling it.

Going back one last time to the 2012 Ticket Fiasco the leadership recovered very well in the end, but their proximity to the issue seems to have clouded their ability to revel in their success. The SPARK movie was an unnecessary revisit to that mess, but a win with giving me a visit to the playa while in the default world; see it’s all about balance.

Burning Man Participants

2012 made a lot of people fall off the fence with the obscene growth of the attendance at TTITD. For reasons of their own, the days of HELLCO and FrogBat (in their glory days) are gone, and some people have moved on in their journey.

Has Burning Man jumped the shark with the numbers swelling? Who is still adding Burning Man to their bucket lists? And… are the people who made it what it is still going?

  • 1st Year attendees never shut up about Burning Man
  • 2nd Year your new Mega-Theme Camp is destiny
  • 3rd Year you are a seasoned veteran and are living the dream
  • 6th Year you’re so old school burner
  • 7th Year, you think Burning Man has sold out
  • 12th Year, Burning Man sucks but you keep going….

Look, we’re all basically insane for doing this year after year. Anyone we know outside of the community thinks we’re out there fornicating endlessly and tripping out on drugs anyway. This ki-ki is cra-cra… (yeah, I thought that right after typing it too…. I already regret not editing it out).

Can we be critical of the BMorg without destroying the people that make this elaborate event happen every year? We are the people who pay for the ticket and they are the engineers who make fantasy land reality.

As long as we keep going things will continue to evolve and whether we choose to believe it or not, I think the BMorg Board is willing to meet us along the way. Keeping the community happy is in their benefit, so we think, but to keep this going we cannot be afraid of change.

WTF?

As mentioned above, Burning Man leadership has made it incredibly easy to take a pie in the face when it comes to criticism. Over the many years some decisions were made and their presentation was so mired in arrogance that it was dumbfounding. Arrogance? Maybe ignorance is the better example, because this nest of heterosexual white hippies are so busy defending their ideology that they often forget the emotional and fiscal needs of the people who have pledged loyalty.

One of the latest controversies was Rape Kits on the playa. At the 2012 Burning Man Regional Conference and Leadership Summit in San Francisco I brought some very real issues to the table in a forum attended by community leaders, board members and Regional Contacts from around the world. Because of the projected (at the time) 70% of expected attendees who were unfamiliar with our 10 Principals we were concerned for people vulnerable to physical attack including women and fae queers.

While we have the Gayborhood where ANYONE can find safety (a promise made by Queer Camp leaders at the 2012 Queer Burner Leadership Summit) we were worried that given the expanse of the attendees was not being matched to assure education and safety of people in attendance; particularly women and fae.

Andie Grace (aka Action Girl, formerly with the communications team with Burning Man) very confrontationally stated in the public forum said that people were responsible for their own safety. Well, that year sexual assaults were on the rise AND there was a very publicized rape behind the Emerald City just off the Esplanade. There were others too and Burning Man was moot.

However, it appears that in 2013 Rape Kits did make it to the playa but how they were implemented is not clear. The fact is that a Rape Kit is a very complicated thing to implement and the balance is that Burning Man simply cannot have a hand in it. But, an official agency can.

While the short sighted reactions to things much like Angie Grace’s comments make the leadership look very dull in their ability to respond to their community.

Tearing Down the Man

There are not shortage of critics. There is also no shortage of people with glitter in their eyes when it comes to how we see Burning Man leadership at the BMorg. It is so easy to find holes in the thinking, but this event and this community is really doing a lot of very positive things. The hypocrisy of BMorg is second to the results. And, the future of  Burning Man itself is unclear.

In an article that came out today (update 1/6/15: the following url ceased to exist and was unlinked: http://www.groundedmedianetwork.com/fuck-burning-man/) the above video was attached. You can see here where there is a lot of holes in thinking and what this is all about, but maybe this is being take too seriously?

Conclusion

When we criticize are we looking at destroying Burning Man? Are we demanding they see reality from our perspective? Do we not give them the gay area to make mistakes and come back with a solution? Do we consider balance? While almost everyone who has gone says that this has changed their lives or made an impact that in itself is the big win.

This pre-season rhetoric has seen so much criticism lest we forget the gift of evolution. Yes, the environmental impact of the event might be questionable. The motivation of the BMorg might be questionable. We can find holes in anything, but if Burning Man were to throw their hands in the air and say “fuck it, we’re fucking done” we would all feel the world got a little more darker that day.

Let’s face it. The BMorg has made some stupid decisions. So have we as individuals. Yes, ticket prices are obscene and becoming more and more out of reach for the average person. The cost of going is less for the accessible for the average person and more so for the privileged. YET, many of us without much cash still manage to get out there (myself included).

Balance is the key. Knowing the difference between attacking windmills versus standing up for a real issue impacting the community is key, too. Right now we have Regional Contacts (R.C.) (except for San Francsico) who represent BMorg to their regional communities and R.C.’s who have a voice back to Burning Man. Hold your Regional to the fire, because he or she is like your state senator for Burning Man.

——————————————————-

BMorg – Burning Man Organization usually referring to the home office in San Francisco, CA.

TTITD –  That Thing In The Desert aka Burning Man

Community Care in the Big Tent

(x-post from Comfort & Joy mailing list)

As many of us prepare to leave for the Playa in a few days, I wanted to bring up a subject that I feel very strongly about —- caring for our community in our big tent (and our camp in general).

We are not anybody’s mothers, but we need to keep in mind that for some of our guests our big tent is a completely new (and hopefully magical) experience. They may NOT be ready/able to fully practice self-care, and may need us to look out for them.

If you see anybody who looks out of it, lost, or freaked out, it is always good to politely ask “are you OK?, “Do you need some water?”, or “Can I help?”. If needed, find out if they are here with friends and get them. If you need to wake somebody up because you think they may be out of it, then do it. If you feel someone needs medical attention, then insist on it. Someone passing out is a medical problem and should be handled (with love and without judgement).

Part of the magic of C&J is our sex-positive energy. This can be abused (especially against people experiencing it for the first time). Excess alcohol/etc can cause people to lose the ability to provide consent. This loss of consent can result in unwanted sexual advances or non-consensual unsafe sex. If something doesn’t look right, you are empowered to step in and investigate. If you feel that someone is out of it and unable to consent then end it. You may make someone unhappy or cause a scene, but this is our camp and we need to care for our guests. If you can’t do this, then find another camp member who can.

I’d love to hear any discussion from others of how to best keep ourselves and our guests safe while we are in Comfort & Joy.

Dot

Regional Burners on QB.Com

There have been several requests from members of the site to find Burners that share space in their individual regions. We have a resource on this site, but Burning Man’s web site also has their Regional Network. The first, best place to begin a burner experience (especially if you never have been to Burning Man before) is to get engaged and involved with your local network no matter what their sexual orientation they are.

Burning Man Regional Network

Follow this link and discover burners in your region. Experienced burners who might discover that they have no regional contact could actually become one. If you are looking for local contacts please consider this:

  • don’t worry about the sexual orientation and do not mention it in your initial contact because it is off-putting to many R.C.’s
  • R.C.’s are volunteers and have lives and jobs so they might be slow getting back to you, be patient
  • if you are treated badly by an R.C. who is not enforcing the ideology behind the 10 Principles there are people who will help*

*the Regional Network is managed (or will be managed by The Burning Man Project) and will receive direct contacts from community members. Suggestion only: use your LGBTQ leaders for concerns before contacting them because LGBTQ issues have had marginal support by BMorg and the Regional Network. We hope to eventually build a stronger relationship and have better support but that comes one day at a time. We also do not want to mire them down in issues we can resolve with each other. A little advice from a third party can go a long way.

Using Queer Burners [dot] Com

There are at least 2 resources on this site to help you connect with local contacts. Regional groups in the community are amazing and can be powerful communities to be a part of. While some have their own drama and fractures some offer unbelievable and amazing culture.

The Groups section of Queer Burners [dot] Com

  • Check out Groups here on the site. Some members have already created regional sections of the site you could jump right into or make your own. Groups are free form and any member can make one.
  • Go to the Members page and use a city name as a search criteria like “Salt Lake City” or “Los Angeles” for example. As long as someone has these in their profile it will come up.

This is one reason it is very important to make sure you complete your profiles.

Other helpful search terms: Idaho, ID, Boise, Helsinki, Poland, Nowhere… these are all words that can be relevant to your place in the world. Take Utah for example… it could be Utah, UT, SLC, Salt Lake City, Element-11, Element 11 … maybe more. Be creative in your search.

Profiles

All members must complete their profiles and have the first page completed with some mention about your Burning Man plans or history. As a bonus there are 2 sections of extended profile information that are optional. Some of the info is fairly personal, but that is why it is optional.

You can edit your profiles once you are logged in. Click on your user name and look for the Edit Profile link. It will also give you a chance to add a picture for your profile.

2 Tribes: Burner v. Faerie

This last weekend this burner joined a celebration being held by another community that I have been told is very similar to queer burners. It is very likely some of the original people who brought us Burning Man were Faeries; or better known as Radical Faeries.

They too started off in San Francisco and sought land outside the city for the expansion of their mission that would, after many years, still be a hub of joy and liberation for many. While we have the Black Rock Desert, the Faeries earliest property purchased under their church was called Wolf Creek Sanctuary up in Oregon. Now they have several properties all over the world that celebrate their uniqueness.

Within our Burner community we do have a core of Queer Burners that are also Faeries and marry the two worlds almost seamlessly. San Francisco based Comfort & Joy are mostly members of the Radical Faery community with their amazing play on gender identity and radical self-expression.

Similarities

One of the first things I heard someone say at the gathering, independent of the knowledge of my Burning Man present, was how much Radical Faeries value Self-Reliance. It’s not a unique factor in the world, but my mind immediately went to one of the 10 Principles: Radical Self-Reliance.

On the chores board I saw MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) as the top item on the page and again I saw something else that came from the Burner world. We know many Radical Faery-Burner people have been on Wolf Creek and the influence is there. It goes both ways.

The recent screening of James Broughton’s “Big Joy” (link broken) movie was all about Radical Self Expression and was featured at the Frameline film festival recently and San Francisco faeries took loving ownership of making sure people all over the world knew of this film. Seeing it at this Faery gathering was amazing.

While visiting Wolf Creek there were 2 people present who ever attended Burning Man including myself, but the influences are fairly evident and acknowledged by many members. Consider that just more than a year ago the president of their parent organization (Nomenus) was a burner.

Differences

As similar as the worlds are there are differences in philosophies more than basic principles. Many faeries are fairly witchy or hold to some spiritual ideals that reach well beyond what many burners hold on to, but that is not an absolute.

The largest difference, based on this particular experience, is that there is a significantly reduced focus on the party. Though the event I went to was a requested sober event, there were some (self included) that indulged. Chemical stimulants were no where on the property; it was much lower key than most burner occasions.

Comparing

These really are apples and pears in they way they compare. Both are fruit, sweet and tasty, but the sensitivity and pulse of the community runs on different blood types.

The writer has been hanging out with Faeries for almost 2 years on a very part time basis getting more and more involved over the last year. This year started off with Faery celebrations like Saturnella, Beltane and most recently the SGRF (Spiritual Gathering for Radical Faeries).

The touching part of each of these communities is how closely knit many of the participants are and how much love of the environment and their spiritual siblings.

More from Toaster on his personal blog

Coming Soon… UPDATES!

Since the last post there have been some cool things going in with some of the do’ers here on Queer Burners. The Quire: QUEER BURNER LEADERSHIP NETWORK and a lot of the dialog does take place on Facebook. It does seem to provide the easiest access for the general population. You will see many of those posts in the Twitter feed in the side column.

Quire is a space for the people who are willing to invest themselves on some level to help make the things that go on here happen. If this is not you, then enjoy the Gay Burners page (5 years old in 2013) and the Queer Burners Group (more social).

Enough of that! Let’s talk about some of the fun stuff coming up!!!!

Well, and some of the other stuff too!

With the upcoming 5 year anniversary goals for 2013 include: (Events Page on QB.Com)

  • Queer Burner Leadership Summit (TBD before April)
  • “Sweet Thing” Queer Burner Camp-Out /  Retreat
  • San Francisco Gay Pride Parade
  • “The Village Q” @ Element-11 in July 2013

For now that is it and this is an update to the previous posting.

Quire; Queer+Fire

There is a link to the Quire web site above in the tool bar. Be a part of it if you want to make great things happen. Yes… I said mutha-f’kin great!

BMorg (Burning Man Headquarters)

We have been described by some burners as isolating ourselves frim the rest of the Burner community which I feel is really a misconception. So I have taken steps to try and address this with the powers that be to show ourselves as a pro-active force when it comes to community and the 10 principles. Here is a letter I am working on that will be going out this coming week:

This is Scott K aka Toaster from QueerBurners [dot] Com also known as GayBurners [dot] Com … I have been in touch with the Regionals contacts in the past a few times and have at one time been a candidate for a Regional Contact role when I lived in Las Vegas. I created a network for LGBTQ+ Burners because there was a need I discovered to provide a resource for this segment of the Burner Culture.

I am writing hoping to engage in a dialog that will help us be a better part of the community at large. It has come to my attention there is an idea in the Burning Man Organization (BMorg) that the network I started, then let grow, is an attempt to segregate ourselves from the rest of the Burner community as a whole. I hope to show you and anyone inside the construct of Burning Man that this is as far from the truth as possible.

This notion that we were segregating ourselves came to me from a trustworthy and reliable source who heard this at Burning Man main office. We are interested in suggestions of what we can bring to the table to improve our relationship. This is not someone I would like to see exposed for passing this information on but I am thankful for providing insight into how we can improve our mutual understanding.

I did post this concern on one of our boards and got some very interesting feedback… it is on the Gay Burners Facebook Page and I invite anyone to look at it at their convenience.

We (yes, we) want to:

  • show that we art partners in the application of the 10 principles in every way possible
  • help convey the message from BMorg and other lateral communities into our community
  • be a part of the future of the culture and whatever direction that takes

On a side note from me personally (Scott aka Toaster): if there is a history that has affected our ability to develop projects together I would like to ask if we can suspend that and start over.

Expectations

None. By reaching out we hope to erase the idea that we are attempting to operate outside of the Burning Man principle Radical Inclusion. In fact, we have been striving to do the opposite.

What we bring to the table

  • maintaining our mailing list of 2000 people and network of more than twice that
    holding regular events with open invitations on our list and other burner networks of all camps and orientations
  • bringing our unique culture to the burner community much as the “Gayborhood” and other Queer pockets at Burning Man have done over the years

in 2013 we are looking at our 5 year anniversary and will be planning events of our own and will be going to support and participate in other regional events including Element-11; all detailed on our main Facebook; and a 2013 Queer Burner Leadership Summit

3 facebook groups, 1 facebook page and our web site

What we hope to convey

the Queer-Burner project is really no different than any of the regional communities out there with participants

  • the members of this community bring a lot to the table every year without need or desire for any special recognition because it is simply what we do to participate and gift when we can to the community.

Conclusion

Just on the few bullet points above and before the season starts making us all nuts can we arrange a meeting at BMorg with the Regionals Office, Placement and anyone else with an interest. I would like to bring Kitten from Comfort & Joy and Foxy from Camp Beaverton Home for Wayward Girls with myself. We come to listen and share with the effort to build a better relationship with the organization that started what we have adopted in our lives within our collective as part of the over all Burner Culture.

Burning Man Regional Conference / Regional Conference

I would like to attend this year again representing my community and bring some of my strongest partners including Kitten and Foxy. Thank you.

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