So, you are planning on go to Burning Man? What is your plan, because it ain’t just going camping. Do you know the 10 Principles? Do you know where your adventure is taking you and your friends & family?
Sub menu: Your starting point | Accculturation | Joining your community
10 Principles | The Gayborhood & Gayburbs | Finding a Queer Camp
Regional/World Wide QB Connections | What Defines a Queer Camp | Glossary
Before you buy a ticket spend some time knowing exactly what you are getting in to. In 2012 there were 3000 people who ran for the gates within the first couple days. The Black Rock Desert has dust storms, white out conditions, hot and cold temps, lots of wind and a hell of a lot of noise. That ain’t fairy dust blinding you on the playa!
These are some of the things you can do to prepare:
Your journey will be your own radical self-expression and what ever gift you bring to others in your immediacy and participation with be special for you. While there are a lot of carbon copy people in the world you will never be one of them.
Be prepared and don’t be a Sparkle Pony. It might sound like a cute term and maybe you think it is a cool title but it is not; especially if you are being medi-vaced out for any of a dozen health problems.
The way acculturation was written on the playajoy.org web site resonates.
Definition: Ac·cul·tur·a·tion 1. A process by which the culture of an isolated society changes on contact with a different one. 2. A process by which a person acquires the culture of the society that he/she inhabits. – playajoy.org
Being a Radically Inclusive culture means that we embrace people for whomever they are and where-ever they stem from which includes people like Pip Diddy (or whatever he calls himself these days), and billionaires in inflatable houses, pop-stars in bustiers and (heavy sigh) Segway riders. It’s always we… otherwise it becomes us versus them.
This is the act of adopting a culture and an ideal into your life that is desired. In the Burning Man culture much of what happens hinges on the 10 Principles. If these make sense to you the next step is putting them into practice.
Some camps have programs for teaching newbs how to be a part of their culture or the burner community. A camp like AstroPups (for example) has required new camp members to be sponsored by an existing member and go through training to understand their participation in and outside the camp.
Radical inclusion had a gray area: I don’t want to hang out with the frat boys or others that do not appreciate …TTITD*. My gray area is that I get to say ‘no’ to a group or individual that I do not choose to embrace.
- Show me a principle and let me show you a gray area.
- Show me a principle and let me show you how it fits into my life… so both are true.
Life is about balance. Life is perspective and the 10 Principles shine very differently depending on where you are in your journey through the Burning Man culture.
Not part of a camp? Working it out on your own? That’s okay too, but before you go bouncing out there be sure to read the Burning Man Official Survival Guide!
10 Principles (+1)
The the truest source of the 10 Principles find it on the Burning Man [dot] Com web site. These items listed are very important when it comes to a community but are not carved in granite anywhere or come from a burning bush.
- Radical Inclusion
- Radical Self-reliance
- Radical Self-expression
- Communal Effort
- Civic Responsibility
- Leave No Trace (LNT)
- (plus 1) Gratitude
The Gayborhood / Rainbow Road
The Gayborhood has evolved to be the epicenter of queer activity on the playa. It is essentially the Castro of Black Rock City, NV. It is profound how many people do not know anything about the Gayborhood or this site, for that matter.
By 2015 the term Gayborhood was falling out of favor because of the focus of the G of the LGBTQ acronym and a more conducive name is still being looked for. 2015 and 2016 saw Rainbow Road in its stead.
Gayborhood: sometimes called the Gay Ghetto. It has been called that and other names depending on your point of view on what it represents. For many it is a safe haven. Others: it is an island to find solace or recluse with others like or sorta-like them. Others still: a place to hold disdain as a place that segregates queers from the community as a whole.
Gayburbs: the area surrounding the Gayborhood.
Gayburbia: another little Gayborhood on the other side of the city where Burner Buddies is often the nexus around 4:30 and J.
In 2015 they flipped the Gayborhood and it was called Rainbow Road
And 2016 they broke the Rainbow into 2:
Searching for your place?
- Queer camps can be safe start for your beginning on the playa.
- Group camps can be a safe space but many enjoy being on their own.
The beauty of Burning Man is you can start your journey any way you want but you can’t control the journey itself. Either way you begin it will not match then end… do not try and control it. Let nature take it’s course.
Joining a Camp
You will be hard to find any camp that is 100% of any sexual identity. Even Queer identified camps have members who are heterosexual or other sexual orientations. We also have a wide variety of people who self identify as various genders. As part of the community it is radical inclusion that makes your time at Burning Man the spice of life.
Camping by category: Queer Camps | Gay | Lesbian | x-Gender | Spiritual | Other
Sex Positive | Peaceful Quiet | Thump-Thump
Start with participating with the camps and their community before jumping right into asking them to be a part of their community. Find out if it is right for you or you for them. The truth is you might not be a good fit on either side.
You can make your own camp site anywhere in the city that is not already reserved by Burning Man Placement; which is clearly defined in a map provided in your guide that you get from the Greeter Station on the way in. Taking your own path is viable, but it all depends on what you want to give or take away from the experience. Civic Responsibility and Community are 2 major parts of Burning Man, but the journey unfolds as you move ahead.
What defines a Queer Camp
As noted above anyone would be hard-pressed to say a camp is 100% of anything. All camps are fairly integrated on some level when it comes to sexual orientation or identity. You have heard “variety is the spice of life”? Radical inclusion is is spicy and with all the other aspects of the 10 Principles they combine for a full micro community; camp, village, or city.
“Queer Camps” are usually self identified as such, but the previous paragraph still applies. Some are not comfortable defining themselves as Queer Camps for a variety of reasons, but the association is strictly semantics and philosophy when we are working on building for a common cause. This is because we are (ideally) here to promote the 10 Principles and apply it evenly.
The Gayborhood are full of Queer and Near-Queer camps although we generally know that not all camp-mates are so easily defined. Queer Burners, The Gayborhood and other LGBTQ burners all have blurry lines.
The future blood of Burning Man is in it’s regions, it is said, as the life of an event in the middle of nowhere for almost a hundred thousand people is really 8+ days long but in the default world it can be eternal. Start with your Official Burning Man Regional page to connect what is often amazing people.
Regional = Means in other regions of the world / country
There are too many official and non-official regional events in the world to list here. The official ones are listed on the Burning Man site (linked above). While the Regional List on the Burning Man [dot] Org web site should be your primary list for seeking out locals here is a list of resources related to our web site and those of our friends:
QB Regional Pages
- United States
Joining your Regional Community
There is no way to stress this enough… if you have it within your ability, seek out your Regional Community. There is a directory on the Burning Man web site with all the official regions listed. Who knows, maybe you can volunteer to be a leader yourself and start your own region.
With the link above, you will be put in touch with a Regional Contact who might assist you in getting in touch with others in your area. You can easily do a search using Google too! There is a high probability that your community has a page on Facebook at least.
Do not confuse this with Regional Events, though the two are related, there are pockets of micro-burns all over the world that bring the Burning Man spirit home. One example is “Forgotten City” which is produced by members of the Las Vegas Burning Man Community
While we hope these links are helpful you are also highly encouraged to visit the regional page on the Burning Man web site. They have the official list. But this search on Facebook Search provides quite an interesting list.
Queer Burners [dot] Com started at the end of 2008 and is dedicated to networking LGBTQ++ burners and making the Gayborhood a strong, safe and cherished tradition at Burning Man. We have leadership programs under Quire. We also have almost any resource or link for all those things you could want for your best experience on and off the playa.
It is the mission of the Queer Burners project to provide resources for the participants of Burning Man who are LGBTQ++ and strengthen the bonds between camps, their leaders and the health and well being of the Gayborhood. To engage, educate, support and promote the very special spark we provide and uphold the 10 principles through actions and acculturation.
This web site is merely a network for LGBTQ++ people in the Burning Man community to communicate with each other for a variety of reasons: projects, camps, and art cars. But as we learned through the various Queer Burner Leadership Summits over the years safety is a huge issue.
Queer camp coalesce comes from queers looking for other queers to camp close to so that they know there is a friendly face close by. There has already been a lot said about why, but this project will hopefully lead to how.
In 2016 Burning Man HQ (BMorg) talked to Queer Burners and our HIVE mind of burner leadership about the condition of the “Gayborhood”; which is what the queer neighborhood in Black Rock City has been referred to generally. The subject of safety was paramount once again, but BMorg came to us with a statistic that almost 1/3 of burners from 2015 self identified as LGBTQ.
- Newbs: People new to Burning Man
- Sparkle Pony: Unprepared for Burning Man