All in Placement’s hands now…

Many community members were given a jolt with the news that BMorg’s Placement wanted to talk to LGBTQQ leaders about the state of the Gayborhood. Was it getting too big? Why are there 350 applications for the 7:30 sector and is it because they were from queer Camps? Is the high number of self identified queer attendees a correlation of these applications to the sector?

The above graphic came from the BMorg meeting showing that, according to BM Census almost 1/3rd of attendees identified as LGBTQQ (BMorgs choice of acronyms). Queer Burners has posted similar numbers on this before showing significant results of the impact of queer patrons on the Burning Man event but we have been marginalized in the culture every year.

A majority of our community have been marginalized in society and it was still prevalent in the Burning Man event except in the Gayborhood; which is not 100% true. Burning Man queers are predominantly gay, white males which to some are still vilified on some level for the same reasons as our straight, white part of society.

At the 2016 Queer Burner Retreat we were part of a well attended workshop about inclusivity and how simply respecting basic pronouns for people of various gender identification make a huge difference in the area of respect.

The popularity and attraction of the Gayborhood provides 1 outstanding feature for many people of all orientation and gender identity and that is Safety.

  • gender queer people (people of other ethnicity as well) are more vigilant about their environment  in the world and will react and go to the aide of other queers who might be in trouble.
  • that environment of awareness and networked safety has attracted people outside that demographic seeking the safe spaces just like they do in gay communities in cities all over the world.

The 7:30 sector, in this burners 8 years, has been a zone with the best camps with the best attractions including but not limited to the Gayborhood. Camps like Orphan Endorphine, Party Naked Tiki Bar, AEZ, Playfully Yours, Suspended Animation and so many more have been based in that same zone.

The 3:00 zone tends to be a popular zone as well with camps known for making that space highly entertaining.

The 10:00 and 2:00 zones speak for themselves.

So the Gayborhood is just one part of the attraction that makes that sector so big and under demand. It is close to Center Camp. It is a hub of activity and entertainment especially at night.

So when members of the BMorg talk about a dream that one day all of Burning Man will be integrated and there is no need for a Gayborhood, I see this as fundamentally offensive. We are not always welcomed with open arms and we have been faced with threatening behavior by other burners. We have the numbers showing that. And many of us do not want to turned into processed cheese slices that fit nicely into someone’s bland world where we are all marching around in our gray suits.

Out of 302 respondents on a survey about personal safety in the gayborhood:

  • 14.57% say they were threatened or felt endangered at Burning Man
  • 21.67% say they knew someone in the same circumstance

IMPORTANT: removed the white, gay male respondents and the numbers jump up to nearly 100%.

Based on our conversation with Placement this week we can anticipate the Rainbow Road layout of what we have been calling the Gayborhood. However, with changes coming in 2017, there is a chance the Gayborhood will be split into 2 sectors or Rainbow Road might be extended; although we want the community to be prepared for both possibilities.

To see the results of the recent survey follow the following links:

Footnote: “Gayborhood” is a term a lot of people are looking to see retired. Queerborhood has been thrown around but it is not a marketable phrase. Neither is “Gayburbs” (the 4:30 & J mini queer collective). As Placement releases the placement of camps that we consider a new brand; like Rainbow Road or something else that might better represent our community as a whole.

URGENT: Changes to the Gayborhood

Placement @ Burning Man wants to hear from the community about the role of the Gayborhood. We need feedback from the community NOW as we are meeting with the BMorg on June 1st. Please complete this Survey Monkey post right away and give us your feedback. [link here to survey – UPDATED]

Some of the collective leaders of queer camps are being asked to communicate with Placement @ Burning Man about the logistics and purpose of The Gayborhood. The Gayborhood has become a huge presence. Now Burning Man is asking us questions about HOW to manage requests to camp in the 7:30 sector and HOW to fit the concept of the Gayborhood into their current policies.

Toaster reached out to some of the most active leaders he knew about creating a survey so we can come to the meeting better prepared with data. What we have surmised from the Queer Burner Leadership Summit discussions is that there are clear and compelling reasons for the gayborhoods that have appeared on playa.

Did you know there are 2 annual Gayborhoods? One is the Gayborhood usually falling in the 7:30 sector most people seem familiar with. Another is the 4:30 and J self placed camps like Burner Buddies and Nacho Daddies that have made that area their own space. In 2010 there was also a Gay Ghetto. (Yes, they called it that) It appeared over on the entire block of 3:00 & C. A group of campers independently made that happen.

[link here to survey – UPDATED

Safe Place: You will see reference to the term “safe place” in the questionnaire. This is not the same things as the project “Safe Place.” Some camps are going to be implementing a project called Safe Place for people under duress to retreat to while at the burn where they can be safe from predators or the effects of “too much.” A meeting about “Safe Place” the project will occur on June 8th if you would like to learn more. [Facebook Event]

The HIVE mind behind the survey includes: Toaster (Sun Guardians / Queer Burners Admin) Foxy (Beaverton / Ranger Torchwood) Cyndi Vee & Ariel (Gender Blender) Terry Grossman (Gaylactic Village / Time to Burn) John Pacheco (GlamCocks) Russ Smith (AstroPups) Ed Edmond (Burner Buddies) and there were others included in the discussion who may or may not have added but were included in the conversation: Yogen Kushi (GlamCocks) Jered Floyd (HIVE Boston) Micheal Cooper (Comfort & Joy) Brian Busta (Comfort & Joy) and Zach Bunker (BloAsis)

 

2014 Census Results

2013 Census Results
2013 Census Results

In the 2013 post census report there was a radically different report when it came to LGBTQ++ people who attended Burning Man. It was more detailed than previous years, but one of the most notable factors was that queer presence was growing.

Not everyone wants to be associated with the gayborhood. In fact, there are a number of active Burning Man participants that do not even know the gayborhood exists.

  • there are queers who actively see out the Gayborhood and seldom venture beyond it for a variety of reasons.
  • there are queer / questioning that float in and out of the Gayborhhood to tap into that energy to get-off or just touch base
  • there are some that are just seeing it for their first time and may or may not come back
  • and there are some who call it the Gay Ghetto and dismiss the validity of the Gayborhood for all it is without rhyme or reason….

The gayborhood has, however, become an attraction at the burn. The carnival like, high visibility, feature inclusive has blossomed especially since 2012. Since the Gayborhood migrated into the 7:30 corridor we have been given a chance to really show our talent!

Below is a copy of the census report re:LGBTQ : to read the whole report click here.

Identity: LGBT

Black Rock City’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Burners are 15.4% of the overall population, but that data alone cannot paint the wider panorama that is gender and sexual orientation on the Playa. Remember as you review the information that both gender and LGBT status is self identified, and that these questions were asked of all Burners, not just the subsection of those identifying as LGBT.

LGBT
Of all females, 15.6% identified as LGBT, compared to 14.1% of males.

Of Burners who listed their gender as “fluid or neither,” 61.7% identified as LGBT.

Another Census question asked about sexual orientation, with options wider than just “gay, straight, or bi*.”

LGBTorientation

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.

LGBTcomparison.update
If you compare Black Rock City to these cities in the United States, it is most similar to the urban areas of San Francisco or Seattle, which is representative of where many Burners come from, and where the event was originally birthed.

How does this compare to your (other) hometown or nearest urban area?

Written by: Tabicat
Edited by: Wendi Corbin goulette

————————— end copy / paste

Burning Man is a community event and we are a distinct and contributing part of that. We are a part of that culture. We are also Burning Man.

 

2014 Queer Burner Survey

The 1st ever survey just about the resources offered on our web site and on Facebook; which are abundant! While the site is maintained for the community part of the idea behind it was that the community would add to it to keep it current and relevant. The Facebook pages have really become that with a feed to twitter for people not on the Fbook. Here are all the resources:

Gay Burners (Master Page) | Queer Burners Group | Quire: QBLN | Google+
QB Regionals: Bay Area | SoCal | ATL | Las Vegas

Never ask a question you do not want the answer for, right? Well, feedback on this 5 year old project is good. If things are prospering then that is a win. If things are stifling, then it is time to change it up.

chart_1Here is what you said:

We asked about the web site and clicked through a variety of the resources we offered. While the 29 people out of 3000 that answered the survey were not aware of some resources there seemed to be some strong opinions about what they knew of.

(if you see an error message here it is okay, it will be fixed soon. To get out of the gallery preview use Esc or click in the gray area around the image.)

While not all the responses made it you the pretty graphics above there was some requests. What would you like to see more of. Ironically, half the items listed and a majority of answers were things that already exist on the site; which means maybe we need to demonstrate that better. Here is what was asked for:

  • Perhaps more academic or queer theory articles or original blog posts.
  • merp? [author note: I have no idea what that is]
  • Camps Events
  • Naked pics of Toaster 🙂 [author note: already there! It’s true.]
  • Keep it up to date and timely I stopped using it as a resource a couple years ago because it was never up to date to have timely information. As a camp organizer I could never post our events or provide information directly on the site so it was not useful to communicate to the community
  • More info for newbies, maybe some kind of 1 on 1 sponcered / mentor type relationship.
  • Need more visibility and scholarships to helps those without funds to be able to travel to leadership conferences.

 

Burners on the Playa

This site is a resource for Queer Burners (LGBTQ++ which is Radically Inclusive) who want to connect with and hang out with other burners with similar wants and desires. Those needs might be social and/or it might be sexual. Queer Burners have a lot of talented people. We also have a lot of amazing personalities people want to be a part of.

Gayborhood v. Gay Ghetto

The existence of the Gayborhood has been criticized and discussed in past posts. However, BOTH Queer Burner Leadership Summits (2012 and 2013) the attendees have discussed the real value 2013_Final_Web_LGof this part of the city is in it’s safety and familiarity for LGBTQ+ people. This is a place anyone who needs help will find real sanctuary if needed.

The one sad fact about the Gayborhood is how it is often misrepresented by the perception of those who do not participate in it. Or those from within the LGBTQ community who sit on the sidelines like bitchy gossips peering down their nose and refer to it as the Ghetto; not unlike a gay man being called ‘faggot’ on the street. It’s slanderous and mean-spirited.

The Gayborhood this year sits on the 7:30 corridor and is spread out thinner than it has been in recent years. This is both good and bad as it either undermines the sanctity of the space for queer and queer-friendly people or it gives other Queer Camps a chance to fill in the space and make a bolder statement.

LGBTQ Who’s Who at TTITD*

2006 DemographicAt some point (after 2006) Burning Man stopped sharing the actual numbers that were released through the afterburn reports. Assuming that this is a fair representation 22% of the people polled showed how potentially queers were playing a significant role.

In the same year, in a place with some very fluid sexuality, people were asked if they were bi-sexual. 38% of those who answered were vague at best but it further cements in the need for awareness.

Many of us have seen or participated in the census at burning man which can be found in the Center Camp Cafe. There are more questions than you can imagine in it and yet the afterburn reports give us a fraction of the results.

 2006 Bi Sexual? 2006 Straight ? 2006 Gay ? 2007 Gender ?2008gender-jpg 2009 Gender ?married-jpg 2011 Gender at Birth ? 2011 Gender Now ?

Take a look at the above charts from the afterburn reports and see how the data has been portioned out effectively editing out the queer community and focusing on a homogenized and very heterosexual audience. While the data showed in the past 1/5th and potentially more of the burners out there were or are LGBTQ identified or not. The data released spawns more questions.
(*TTITD: That Thing In The Desert aka Burning Man)

Not every rainbow is gay

Before you get confused about the uncommon amount to rainbow flags out there… they don’t all mean what you think. There are 3 rainbow flags out there and if you were unaware they meant something different one might think there were A LOT of Queers on the playa!

3flags

  1. 6 Color Flag: LGBTQS Diversity (gay)
  2. 7 Color Flag: Diversity (gay or not but usually not)
  3. 7 Color PACE Flag: Diversity with ‘Peace’ in Italian on it (same as #2 but pretending to be Italian)

Not that there are a lot of rules about flying these flags but my initial thought was ‘wow, there are a of gay people in these camps’ as if in many cases these were letting others know where we were… not so! But not necessarily not so either.

Maybe this was the same confusion Oscar Remundo (blogger for the Huffington Post) had when he stated in his post that 70% of Burning Man attendees were LGBT. I know I was starting to wonder myself because gay people were everywhere.

Queer Utopia

LGBTQ people have flocked to this culture because of it’s radical inclusion and acceptance of people irregardless of who they were or where they came from; as long as they can afford a $400 ticket and survive in the dirt for 8 days.

Conclusion

The contribution the LGBTQ community offer a lot to the Burning Man experience inside and outside of the trash fence. Our identity as Queer Burners v. just being referred to as Burners is often at question, but to be minimized by BMorg (the Burning Man Organization) or from within by Queer people is a cancer that is not constructive.

Being aware of each other out there strengthens us as a whole not just LGBTQ but also with Burners everywhere.

We celebrate faggotry and all Queer presence on the playa that gains focus in the Gayborhood and radiates outward. The Gayborhood expands and contracts wildly with layers and satellites that bring diversity all over the BRC (Black Rock City).

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