2016 Survey Data: Reapplied

In 2016 we published a Survey Monkey questionnaire once we were contact by BM Placement. Some of us in leadership were being asked to meet with them in an effort to discover why there were so many applications for the 7:30 sector over other parts of the city. Were these LGBTQ camps seeking to be close to other LGBTQ camps.

The answer may have been more likely “no” than otherwise, but there was a factor we discovered in the process. There are some non-LGBTQ specific camps who wanted to be close to the vibe the gayborhood offered. And camps who were mixed who had LGBTQ camp members who had benefit from being in that proximity.

Placement (BMOrg official) placed camps intermittently in an effort to weave queer and non-queer camps together.

All of the above was true at least through June 2016 when we met with Placement to discuss our place in the 7:30 sector as well as our friends at 4:30 and J.

As of 2018 there have been no major changes. See more detailed information on www.queerburners.com.

This is not the original report that was submitted to Placement at the meeting. We have the original information from the survey. Upon request from BMorg Placement to meet we conducted an adhoc survey addressing the needs of our community and came to some important conclusions:

  • The most vulnerable people in our community rely on the Queerborhood as a safe space and to give many a sense of preservation
  • Many of the same people feel or have experienced discrimination and danger while at the event

We heard from about 285 people in the quickly assembled survey. While a great many people included in the survey were gay white males, we can extrapolate that removing that feedback in the scope of the feedback the data changes heavily.

What is your sexual orientation?

286 Respondents

 

What is your Gender Identity?

285 Respondents

 

How many years have you gone to Burning Man?

286 Respondents

 

Have you ever visited the Gayborhood?

What is your perception of the Gayborhood?

Mark all that apply.

 

If you needed a safe space at Burning Man would you go to the Gayborhood?

Have you ever felt threatened at Burning Man because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender presentation?

Do you know someone….

Have you…

What aspects…

Comments & More

There was a section of comments that were added and mostly left off of the data presented to Answergirl who was representing BMorg Placement at the time of the meeting. This was left of with the concern it would contain some personal information that some may not appreciate being released. So, with some minor edits, here are almost all the comments.

There are some comments that make more recent event resonate more about some subjects that have come up in 2018:

  • The call for Safe Spaces
  • The need for sober safe spaces on the community

The information we collected was truly spectacular. If so many people in such a short time could be truly heard by Placement then our concerns would be unnecessary perhaps.

 

Queer Caucus

I am so excited to see that leaders in this community have taken up a torch for the benefit of the 7:30 sector for the Queerborhood (formerly the Gayborhood). Over the years Placement (a burning man office that oversees the way the city is populated by placing camps) has threatened to break up and separate the Gayborhood time and time again. It was originally something that came together because camps made it happen organically and out of a need (see link: refer to 1997 date).  In 2015 (link to details) we had our first Rainbow Road where queer camps were generally placed along “D” road between 7:00 and 8:30 under the influence of a staunch community ally in Placement named Hepkitten.

Former head of Placement Answergirl called us all in around May 2016 under the assumption that LGBTQ camps were the reason the sector received an unusually high amount of applications. Was this queer camps setting the scales off? I think in the end the real truth was that queer camps were bringing something very special to the sector and that ally camps and camps with some LGBTQ wanted to be part of that vibe.

The thing is, I have visited other sectors of Black Rock City, and each has it’s own special feel. Breaking the Gayborhood into 2 pieces will not solve the high number of applications for the 7:30 sector. 4:00 has it’s own energy. 2:00 and 10:00 as well as 9:00 have a flavor, culture and consciousness of its own.

New head of Placement is Trippi Longstalking who has seem to shown she is an advocate for the culture and creative energy we as LGBTQ people bring to the table. Us, along with ally camps, work hard to build something special out there. But even as late as Burning Man: iRobot 2018 we were still peppered through the sector in clumps and just like the map from 2016 showed (along with the notes Dare: Glamcocks made on a photo graphic of the official map). In the beginning of the 2018 season this year the Placement newsletter gave foreboding information about a sector shakeup that sent a wave of nervousness through the community given our extremely uncertain place in it.

We seem to be fighting for several things that some people have lost sight of: the right to radically represent LGBTQ culture in the most positive way possible. We are fighting to make sure that people represented in those letters are not further marginalized and taken advantage of  by assault, rape, gay bashing and trans-phobia. They happen out there today. They happen at Burning Man, Regional Events and IRL. Safety was the primary concern for people who were surveyed: Results 2016 P1 and Results 2016 P2 [Pending review]

Yet there are those dismissing voices who call for the Queerborhood to be dismantled and dismiss it with prejudice as the Gay Ghetto. They also claim that the Gayborhood keeps people locked in the bubble and others out. See the results of the on-playa Placement meeting with camps from 2016 where voices determined to squash queer camps showed up and hijacked the meeting for their own agenda.

Why do requests of LGBTQ camps to be placed closer together go unheeded even with all the information given to them? Not everyone is going to want to be in the cluster, but those asking for it should. Some would say they were already doing that, but smaller clusters. And why should they do that and not for anyone else? Well, they do for Kidsville but that was a whole other bag of bees. And do they think by spreading us out more this will resolve anything more for them or us?

It seems like Placement is evolving and we have yet to see how we are fitting into the discussion. The conversation in 2016 with Answergirl left more confusion that results especially for me when she said: “Imagine the Gayborhood [changes or goes away or something like that]…” and used the eraser to remove it from the whiteboard and then back peddle wildly to clarify.

It is time for Placement to acknowledge the Queerborhood as it has been present at Burning Man in one form or another for 15+ years. Answergirl told myself and Cyndi NoPants with a wave of her hand at the 2017 GLC that the Gayborhood does not exist so there is no reason to talk about it going away or not. Trippi Longstalking was in the room preparing to take over Placement quietly observing and I looked at her. I looked at Trippi who had the most interesting expression on her face because it said something to me I have yet to understand. Was it the hope that a new sheriff was in town or was she considering how she might have handled that discussion. I have yet to know. And this whole post is my own interpretation of the events.

I know we have allies in the BMorg. I know that BM fundamentals that have built the city do not want to group camps by specialty. No more red light district? Kidville is in tact. This year a lot of food driven camps were clustered closely. Musician camps like Rootpile camp have started consolidating. When Placement talks about the future what exactly are they getting to? And when will they acknowledge our progress?

See the following links for more information on this subject:

Action Events Taking Place:

Burning Man Placement is asking for Feedback

We did it! A collective of local queer camp leaders met with Placement at BMHQ to discuss how to manage the number of request for 7:30 sector, which are almost double the number requesting any other sector of Burning Man. Besides providing a safe space for LGBTQIA folks, we’ve created a tight-knit community that produces amazing art and a powerful experience on the playa. Other burners have responded, and queers and allies alike are flocking to our rainbow colored beacon.

Using survey data you, the Queer Burner community, provided us, we discussed what makes the Gayborhood (or more inclusively “Queerborhood”) such an important place for our community and for Burning Man in general. We tried to tackle issues of safety, inclusion, freedom, self-expression, and all the powerful themes that you all wrote to us about!

The Placement Team also brought data of their own. Using the BRC census data, almost a third of the BRC population self-identify as “LGBTQQ”.

Scan_20160602

And, now, BURNING MAN PLACEMENT needs actionable information so as to not break up the Gayborhood/Queerborhood and still solve the logistics challenge of cramming too many camps in a limited amount of space. So…

URGENT: Before Friday afternoon we need the community to answer a few more questions (not many, really): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GPJFRLZ

Answering the questions above will directly guide the ongoing logistics discussion with Placement. You and your camp leaders are invited to participate so that we can continue to create a supportive space for those who want to share in the community.

This year we anticipate seeing a Gayborhood “Rainbow Road” scenario much like 2016 (possibly extending beyond the bounds of 7:30 and into the adjacent sectors). However, in the not so distant future, we are likely to see TWO Gayborhoods and new questions in the Placement Questionnaire for camps to self-identify as queer and wanting to be in the Gayborhood/Queerborhood (rather than just requesting 7:30).

For now, use the Queer Burners [dot] Com Forums to share your opinions. Help us continue the dialog by letting us know what you need!

Leaders of Queer Camps facilitating the discussion:

– *Tiger (Glamcocks) – *Christian (BAAAHS) – *Cyndi NoPants (Gender Blender) – *Toaster (Sun Guardians / Queer Burners) – *Indigo (Astropups) – *Dare (Glamcocks) – *Foxy (Beaverton) – *Ariel (Gender Blender) – Terry Grossman (Gaylactic Village / Time to Burn) – Ed Edmond (Burner Buddies) – Zach Bunker (BloAsis)  *in attendance at meeting w/ Placement Team

Burning Man GLC: Toaster Trip Report

This was my fourth or fifth GLC. The Global Leadership Conference focuses on Regional Contacts and Community Leaders out there in the world making Burning Man style events happen, This includes Burners Without Borders, Black Rock Solar, and Black Rock Arts among many entities.

A lot of people ask me how they can go, too. This was the first year they let me bring someone I nominated. One usually has to be nominated by a Regional Contact, but then of course San Francisco (where I live) does not have an R.C.. The facility where this was held was packed with people and there were people I knew who said were there on Facebook whom I never got a chance to see the whole weekend.

“The 10th annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference (GLC) is an annual conference of Burning Man community leadership that happens each spring in San Francisco. From humble beginnings in 2007, where 70 Regional Contacts joined us at Burning Man HQ, the GLC has since grown to include over 400 participants from around the world.

These highly-energized folks are Burning Man’s global representatives and community leaders, ambassadors of Burning Man culture in their regions who throw any of 65 Regional events in 20 countries. They participate in the GLC to share ideas, best practices and inspiration, and to make the invaluable face-to-face connections that may just lead to the next big thing.

The conference is for organizers and community leaders in the Burning Man Regional Network, and space is limited, so attendance isn’t open to the public, BUT … we’re going to be covering key sessions that are of interest to the larger Burning Man community on the Burning Man Journal, as well as on Twitter.”

Burning Man [dot] Org (linked)

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On @queer_burners on Twitter right from this conversation we tweeted a quote right from Larry Harvey in this Q&A where he talked about funding the arts. He said “Lots of hungry puppies only so many tits.” In fact the word “Money” was bandied about a lot for a corporation always faced with someone eager for a taste of the pie; e.g. the new Nevada tax that added $50+ to our ticket prices this year.

The Burning Man Global Leadership Conference

It happen April 1st to the 3rd at the Marines Memorial Theater / Hotel at 609 Sutter Ave here in San Francisco. Myself and Foxy (of Beaverton fame) went representing the Queer Burner community and a voice that was only about LGBTQ++ burning man participants. There are a lot of Queer leaders in the community whose missions are more specific to the geographic community than a “lifestyle” or “sexual orientation”. Regional Contacts are the primary focus, as well as future leaders, who also do projects in the long cast shadow of what Burning Man is.

Burning Man often looks and complains about a lack of diversity in their culture; specifically in skin color in the United States. There have been efforts to improve the variety of racial demographics. However, with the launching of Burning Man culture into different parts of the world the racial concerns seem to have wained as burns in Africa, Asia, South America, Central America and Europe have brought in a hungry and exciting rush of fresh blood making the 10 Principles their own.

Finally, the misogyny of the culture took more dents with the on-going delivery of messages about consent and personal responsibility. Over recent years these have been strongly related messages to leaders with tools to bring back to their communities. A champion in this area has been North Caroline burners.

The BMOrg is a corporation run by women (and Charlie and the odd board member) which has also sent a whole new set of messages to the community. A lot of Queer people work for the org as well but there is still this lingering blind disregard for a system to help queers, in many cases, and women who are venerable in a sexually charged and space where people have often lowered their defenses. This is still changing.

Some of our biggest concerns about Queer burners also came out of the South with a NC burner talking about degrading behavior toward Trans and queer people at South eastern events; but there are voices that are strong enough to let their peers know that such behavior was unacceptable. It was also refreshing to hear that a Radical Faery group USED TO go to the NC event but sadly they faded away. There was a subtle wake up call that LGBTQ burners are STILL not safe at all Burner events.

So we ask about what kind of diversity is Burning Man really looking for?It starts at the root level and has to grow. Almost anything meaningful has started with members of the community taking action which is why Queer Burners is here without any – ANY official support or injection from the BMOrg. If anything else, it has been clear that events are being driven toward family friendly and diverse audiences by Stephen Ra$pa and his team with less on adult activities. Yet, believe it or not anything with an LGBT label on it is still lumped into the ‘adults only’ category.

Why this summary?

There were leaders all over the world at the Conference (GLC) and for those interested in taking official status with the BMOrg the message was pretty clear what those steps needed were. Queer Burners is and will remain a grass roots project with it’s mission centered on Queer Burning Man participants and community builders.

I listened to everything there and talked to people at the best GLC I had ever been to. I do not know if it was the venue, the improved range of speakers or the delivery. Queer Burners (the project since 2008) has felt like the black sheep of the family year after year. But this year felt more like we were a part of the conversation and we had something to add for a variety of reasons.

If only I could figure out why there is a strong sense of opposition of our presence from a couple key people in the Borg. That is a conversation for another day, though.

Content

The GLC was mostly all business. The workshops followed key tracks:

  • Civic Activation
  • Community Events
  • Leadership Skills
  • Organizational Development
  • Foundation Skills

This year my focus was mostly on Financial and Event related tracks because of the many things Queer Burners is doing with events and planning. This included risk management and working on a better system of transparency. Queer Burners is launching events and making money; all of which will go right back into the community.

Foxy wrote a report on her experience here if you would like to see it. Being a Green Dot Ranger and in Ranger leadership she had a special spin on her experience. As Ranger Torchwood she wants to see more Queers who are a good fit into the Ranger culture. She will be presenting at the Queer Burner Retreat with 4 other Rangers.

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A famous Science Fiction writer was the key note speaker. His Playa name is/was Mez and had the theme camp the Church of Mez. Ramez Naam (Twitter: @ramez) wrote the award winning book APEX (part of a trilogy) and talked a lot about the future through the past. He talked about the possibility of Science Fiction versus reality. And interesting enough he talked about Stonewall and the gay rights movement a lot which I was taken by.

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Marian Goodell (the CEO of Burning Man) welcomed everyone. While she was genuinely excited to have people there she seemed unprepared for her presentation. She complained about her position as ‘having drawn the short straw’ for a role she is perfectly suited for. She took over from Larry though he remains the face of Burning Man. Marian used to run the Regional Network (of Regional Contacts) when I first joined the community less than a decade ago and I got to know her when she interviewed me as a potential R.C. way back then. But what did I do, I did what burners are supposed to do I went out and developed community without the approving nod of the BMOrg.

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There were a lot of people there presenting a lot of impressive projects. Above are two Chicago leaders reporting their event called the Chididerod. It’s decorated shopping carts racing through the city but raise a serious-butt-load of food for food banks in the area there; like – literally tons of food. While these folks had a ton to be proud of the self congratulating with so thickly layered on it was stifling. The ego landed on stage and waved a big flag all the way form Chicago. But they were not the only ones which I will cover soon.

The projects were impressive and part of the content was how to do stuff like this and not get sued, arrested or hurt. It was also about building communication with the local authorities and officials as needed to get the right people on board with your projects so you can find success. Nothing ends a great project faster than one that is misunderstood. How many times have you mentioned Burning Man to someone only to be judged as a hippie, druggie, pervert before the next word came out of your mouth?

We learned a lot about protecting the reputation as much as the people making and benefiting from whatever project a leader is putting out there.

There were so many people patting themselves on the backs or waving their arms around to say how they were doing it better. On the other hand, there were a lot of broken people who were crushed under failed projects like Apogea in Colorado. Pride and Envy are ugly demons and we all hope not to be run over by them.

I learned a lot and hope others learned too because some of the problems people were having seemed to have such obvious solutions, yet so many seemed to be resolvable by setting expectations for oneself and for their communities.

The picture gallery below will depict a lot of the content as it was presented, but maybe one day more leaders will be able to go to the GLC.

Queer Burners Presentation

On a lark, I decided to submit a suggestion for the UNconference. The unconference was a user generated pool of breakout sessions where we could put subject on the table and see if there was interest. We would get 45 minutes to bring the subject to the table and see what happened.

“LGBT issues in the Burner Community”: Foxy called me when I was waiting to get my hair cut on Saturday night after I left and told me I was presenting. I was shocked and excited and when her and I talked I realized I had no idea what I was going to really say.

– who was the audience?
– what if this goes in a completely wrong direction?

We asked ourselves a ton of questions and naturally I asked Foxy to co-facilitate it with me and help me with it no matter what direction it went.

We were originally scheduled to share a HUGE room with the Chididerod people but they asked us to leave because they needed the whole theater. We found space in a public area and managed with the half dozen people that joined us. We learned a lot about LGBT issues in other regions, too. Some feedback  is already contained in the content of this page.

It really felt good to contribute and bring this subject to the table.

What were the issues you ask? In the above section where we talked about the North Carolina regional event, that came from this discussion. Essentially for a lot of queers in various regions there is no “problem” but the emphasis was that out, queer people just want to feel welcome and safe. Perception of safety, even a glimpse, means a lot.

We only had 45 minutes and it went fast, but the topics were amazing. Talking about the regions that were present might make some people feel on the spot, but the NC information was really important and that prejudice still exists in the community; even at Black Rock City.

Personal Note

I got hit by a seriously bad cold on Saturday and I was a soppy wet mess. While this report is not about Toaster the point is that I missed out on some of the best networking time because of it. I missed all the evening events which was a disappointment but thank goodness Foxy was there.

In Conclusion

When these things come up and are offered by BMOrg people in the community should jump in. Whether it is GLC, Placement meeting, or event the amazing stuff offered in the various regions. These resources are a tremendous value. The GLC is really good for the communities when leaders are bringing back what are learned.

Burning Man GLC: Foxy Trip Report

4 days of great sessions, based on tracks such as Civic Activation, Community Events, Leadership Skills, and Organizational Development.

I attended: Effective Leadership Skills in the Burnerverse, Creating a Culture of Consent, Danger Ranger’s (the founder of the Rangers) talk ‘Coyote goes to Burning Man’, Cultivating Strong Regional Rangers, plus the closing Plenary.

What struck me personally was the idea of the ‘grey area’, not only in leadership, but also with consent.

Leadership

Many of you have been in situations where you are asked to make a decision as a community leader on something that does not have a black or white answer. Looking at both sides of the equation, might not garner enough information. What I took from the session, is that we as leaders should exercise good judgement, be empathetic, listen, give and get advice, look at what is good for the community as a whole, and then make a decision based as best you can. If you do your due diligence for those grey area situations, and be open to revisiting the situation if new information arises, you may not make everyone happy, but you have led in an ethical and thoughtful way. Embrace the grey area, you can learn a lot from it.

Consent

Creating a culture of consent is top of mind for many of us, which is awesome. Again, that grey area came up, and I heard an interesting concept, that of Consent Mistakes. Verbal, sober consent should be the norm, but what if you thought you had consent and you actually didn’t. What if you consented to something, but for reasons such as peer pressure, you weren’t actually consenting. I think we can all take a deeper look into what it means to really have and give consent. Even just acknowledging a Consent Mistake, can be empowering if you had an experience that just didn’t sit right with you. You are then able to take steps, have conversations, or get help if you need it.

Regional Rangers

In this session, a lot was discussed about the different cultures of the regionals. Did you know Rangers have to deal with issues with Whales in Victoria BC.? There are many Regional Rangers, that don’t go to TTITD, they just do the Regionals. Perhaps that is something some of you might be interested in doing, if you aren’t set on becoming a Black Rock City Ranger. If so, let me know and I can start the ball rolling for you.

Coyote Goes to Burning Man

This was an amazing, insightful, inspiring, wander through the history of pranksters in San Francisco which ultimately led us to Burning Man and it’s culture. The Coyote as a symbol of pranksterism in Native American culture, was fascinating. In England, the Fox is our prankster, this made me very happy. If you have a chance to listen to this talk, it’s well worth it.

I learnt a great many things, met wonderful people, and heard amazing stories from Burners without Borders, makers, and community leaders. We Queer Burners have an amazing culture, let’s share it!

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.

2015 Burning Man: Global Leadership Conference

The Burning Man Global Leadership Conference happened again this year and Toaster went representing QueerBurners.Com. There were a lot of other LGBTQ++ burners there working the event as well as participating.

Toaster, Jim Taflinger the Georgia Regional, and Bobby (aka Poohbear) from the New York Community
Toaster, Jim Taflinger the Georgia Regional, and Bobby (aka Poohbear) from the New York Community

The 9th Annual Global Leadership Conference runs Thursday, April 9th through Sunday, April 12th, 2015. Each day will be action-packed with incredible workshops, presentations, and fun gatherings. The 2015 Burning Man Global Leadership Conference will take place in the San Francisco Bay Area. The conference theme is “The Next Creative Renaissance: Buildin’ it up, Bustin’ it Out, and Bringin’ it Home” aimed at inspiring civic engagement through art and community. We want participants to return home full of ideas about how to make a meaningful impact in their hometowns, cities, and regions. Featured speakers and programming will address and explore activating and nurturing Burning Man culture and communities across the world.

– taken from the conference web site page

There were queer burner leaders in attendance, but only one wore the badge that said “QueerBurners.Com” LGBT Burners; that was your very own Toaster.

Scope

This was a weekend full of amazing dialog and communication building for the “Carnival of Mirrors” event, but the scope of the Leadership Conference is developing community and the Burning Man ideology (brand, projects and identity protection). One thing is definitely sure, what Burning Man IS has changed. The up and coming leaders (in the community, not necessarily employees) have changed.

Burning Man is a business and the many limbs of Burning Man are wrapping around themselves building a stronger core by collapsing those ancillary entities into the whole. In recent months: the Black Rock Arts Foundation and Burners Without Borders are now internal elements of the Burning Man Project instead of satellites. Those employees are now Burning Man employees and they now have the resources that Burning Man has developed as well as the influence.

Politics and Wrangling Not Your Thing?

This ‘thing’ has grown and is still growing. Burning Man is not just Burning Man (in the desert) anymore. It is a corporation that works hard to maintain it’s identity. It seems to work hard from being too mega and from being marginalized.

  1. It fights to maintain representation of the 10 Principles and the gray area surrounding them while increasing its ability to give the people who are a part of the culture a chance to really have a piece through community effort.
  2. It also fights to be seen as something more than a rave-like festival in the deep Nevada desert filled with cracked out naked hippies.

Burning Man is in that wide field in-between all that. While this is all an opinion being shared here as a participant, it became clear to me that some of the ugly parts of Burning Man are being matured away from by a generation that does not accept the snark, sexually aggressive, community destructive ideas. But at the same time while the community as a whole is growing into new shoes the struggle to really maintain the 10 Principles every day has also been a struggle.

10 Principles

See the 10 Principles here… CLICK. One of the questions that came up was: What is Radical Inclusion … Really? Here are two scenarios:

  • Creepy individual in camp stalking or pushing themselves on other members of the camp; does this person have the right to be a part of the camp under the Radical Inclusion umbrella or not? Most say no, but those that do not have to deal with the consequences say maybe or yes.
  • A camp of people with a certain “body type” or an “aesthetic” with an age limit or gender requirement is approached by someone that does not meet that standard; do they have the right to say no? Many would say no, but we have the right to choose who we camp with. The value of that individual is not known until we get to know that person.

Both these were discussed at the summit and in one case a unsolicited comment was made by one of the Gayborhood camps in a session of leaders. Most had never heard of the camp before, but as a member of the community behind this camp I was stunned and reeled.

the 11th Principle

There was a lot of talk about an eleventh principle. Seems like communities all over have developed something with the word “radical” put in front of it and found meaning with it. Among them, for a long while anyway, was the word Gratitude.

  • Radical Vulnerability: among leaders needing permission to look for a support team/system when working/building/launching events.

(See our post on this that started this conversation at the GLC: CLICK)

Conclusion

BMGLS2015 attendeesAll those leaders who went to this event (400 of them) should be bringing these tools back to their communities. It should be a trickle down idea and it will hopefully see some people be inspired and step up to help make leadership better. To all Queer Burners… I give this site to you. I present this whole project to you. Only you can take the baton and raise the bar for the future and yourselves and your communities.

QB Network Numbers

One of our claims is an audience of 5000 on our network. While many have opted in and signed up in one form or another many are accessing the free resources on the web site on a daily basis. That number is a wide reaching number based on the engagement of our social networking and web site numbers.

Web Stats provided by Buddy Press plugin

Above are stats provided by software on the site / Below is from Google Analytics. See how they compare.

Web Site Analytics from Google

While it is not clear which is more reliable for data, they are showing very similar algorithms happening. It’s clear there is a lot of activity and people are seeking out information we have on the site. 1400+ sessions in the last 30 days and 1200 visitors with 80% being unique and new as far as software tracking can determine.

Social Networking Links

  • Queer Burners [dot] Com Web Site : 600 Members
  • Queer Burners Facebook Page : Link : 2009 Followers
  • Queer Burners Facebook Group : Link :  1373 Followers
  • Bay Area Queer Burners : Link : 591 Followers
  • SoCal Queer Burners  : Link : 111 Followers
  • Atlanta Queer Burners : Link : 40  Followers
  • Las Vegas Queer Burners : Link : 25 Followers
  • Europe Queer Burners : Link : 3 Followers (newest board)
  • Quire (Queer Burner Leadership Network : Link : 97 Followers
  • Twitter @queer_burners : Link : 650 Followers
  • MailChimp Mailing List : 583 Recipients

3rd Party Queer Burner Boards

  • NYC Queer Burners : Link : 284 Followers
  • DC – MA- VA Brothers of the Man : Link : 27 Followers

What are they looking for?

An overwhelming number of people coming to the site are looking for Queer Camp and networking information for their planned expedition to Burning Man in 2015. They are looking at:

  • Pictures from previous burn years (mostly 2014 right now) : Link
  • Queer Camps on the 2015 List : Link

There is a clear sense they are looking for more and are not exploring some of the more interactive features on the site like the Groups and Forums. If we can get the site to allow a more robust social networking feed, better than what the RSS page offers, then I think on these accounts the site will be more than just a spot to check of static information.

The 2015 Fund Raising Campaign

The first goal of the campaign is to improve the site. We can do that by paying someone to help or having someone in the community volunteer. This is a Buddypress driven site and if worked more like a Facebook feed then it would make the project a lot happier:

  • cleaner feed on what is now called the RSS Page
  • Greater personalization of the profiles
  • Easier to communicate between members
  • Better way to share projects and events

Then we will focus on the Queer Burner Leadership Summit for the late Spring and/or a structured campout for Queer Burners.

QB Leadership

Our community is expansive. We are part of the Burning Man community and by the latest numbers it appears to be somewhere around 66,000 people who show up in the desert and up to 200,000 around the world.

Where does leadership come into play with these numbers

  1. The Borg : The Burning Man Organization who are based out of San Francisco
    There is an annual event called the Burning Man Global Leadership Conference / Regional Contact Conference that focuses on major projects and community leaders.
  2. Regional Contacts : R.C.’s are official representatives of Burning Man who are volunteers who help guide communities all over the world and help protect the brand.
  3. Community Leaders : also voluntary roles where people take on various Burning Man related projects that are on all kinds of scales. They often are a source of leadership for groups.
  4. Camp / Project / Art Leaders : often involved in smaller groups but are engaged on some level with any of the above.

Queer Burner Leadership

There is no one in charge of anything related to the Queer Burner Community. The work through the Queer Burners pages is also voluntary and many of the people who are self identifies leaders in the LGBTQ Burning Man scene have also gone to the Global Leadership Conference in order to better engage our community.

Since 2012 (3 years) Queer Burners host Toaster has held a leadership conference in San Francisco. The Queer Burner Leadership Network operates under handle Quire : Queer and Fire. We have had great success at these events and hope to see them continue in whatever form they take in the future.

Who’s Who in Queer Burner Realness

Several people have been very responsible for helping make this successful. We have leadership throughout the LBGTQ who have great successes in their own areas but occasionally amazing people reach out past that.

Mario CisnerosA personal note from Toaster: While I have many people to thank it cannot go without mentioning Mario Cisneros of Moonbow camp who left us in 2012. He called me on the phone days before he left the earth and gave me the most amazing pep-talk.

He started the Gay Pride parade at Burning Man and was the host of the Offcial Queer Burner Meet & Greet which I took over for now at least until the mantel is taken over by someone else.

Kitten CaffeeOne of the earliest people on the queer burner train was Kitten from Comfort & Joy. He has been a fantastic ally in many of the projects initiated by this group.

08282012_burn-3033 of the Mayors of Camp Beaverton have also been fantastic partners in this process and that includes Bucket, Foxy and Glo. It was hard getting in and meeting this amazing group of people but what fantastic people.

Scott BeardetteScott Beardette from camp Conception has also been a huge asset and partner over the years. His ability to network, troubleshoot and respond to community issues is amazing.

1959620_614030481983786_1056781635_nCyndi Vee and Pink Pants from Gender Blender have been  rock stars in this community. Running the largest trans/fluid sexual identity camp at Burning Man. Not only that, has really brought it to San Francisco Decom and have been a great ambassadors for Trans issues in our culture.

A lot of thanks and love out to many many others as well. Catcher and Red from the Down Low Club have allowed us to host the Official Meet & Greet at the Down Low Club the last 3 years and were strategic partners with Mario too.

Ranger Sirius from BloAsis who has been a great asset to the community and has also been helping Toaster on some additional projects beyond the QB banner.

manAndEdAnd Ed Edmond and all his amazing people out of Burner Buddies who have also hosted the after party for the Gay Pride parade for… more years than I can count. The also hand out the official Gay Cards!

It is more than a handful of people. Because voices make up a chorus and that is what Quire is all about either directly or indirectly. Kelly Kidd from Mudskippers, Matty from Yes,Please, Tom and Matt from Camp Stella, Turtle from Coffee Camp and more more more.

When Brian from Crisco Disco, Chickpea – Cody – Blitzy – Coop – Poohbear … oh so many from Comfort & Joy … all these people are more engage they are bringing something amazing.

So what about it?

The people talked about here have been real givers. They believe in this community and are engaged and always willing to give to their communities; not just queer burners but their regional and social communities.

THANK YOU!!!

Coming Together in Hard Times

There have been a lot of high profile deaths in the Burning Man community and when we see people grieving it is hard to know where to take those feelings. The death of a regional community member has an impact. It can be devastating.

Please know you are not alone!

There are Black Rock City Rangers in every community and a special section of them called Green Dot who have special training when it comes to issues of the heart and mind.

Green Dots are Rangers who help participants through situations that have a strong emotional, psychic, or internal component. Green Dots are first and foremost patient listeners who seek to hold space for participants undergoing inner transformation or experiencing internal distress.

Whatever the case, you might need something closer to home. Maybe just a voice. We have friends all around and do not be afraid to use them. Here are some more resources:

Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255

or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

 

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