2022 End of Year Statement for Queerburners

Queerburners is a service organization focused on LGBTQIA+ burners and our allies creating safe and accountable spaces for every person in that acronym and more.

We start a new calendar year following the big event in Black Rock City every year because we are also looking ahead to the future and setting the tone and direction we want to go.

We are a consensus based organization and everyone who attends a meeting has a voice. We vote by majority, but we are exceedingly open to view points some of us might know need to be heard.

Where am I going with that?

We need more help in order to continue – and there are roles for people to play if you can.

The board is largely CIS, white and male TBH. We would like to see more representation from the people who identify from more letters of LGBTQIA and people of color.

We need help with our communications and event production to meet some lofty goals for next year.

In 2022
– We sponsored and ran 2 local events in the bay area to hook up campers with camps and visa versa to great success
– We also saw our camp directory on our website get spectacular attention and were able to help continue networking people and camps
– We produced 4 Zoom workshops called the Rainbow Leadership Summit that can currently be seen on our YouTube Channel and our website
– We gave out grants to projects headed to Waking Dreams in a way we have never been able to before

Queerburners was originally founded in 2008 as Gayburners and evolved a lot over time. I had a lot of help along the way, but through community support we were able to keep going to produce a variety of events over the last thirteen years.

We produced
– 4 LGBTQIA regional style events in 2015, 16, 17 and 18.
– Leadership conferences in 2012, 16 and 2018
– And many local events in the bay area…

The future demands we do more in more regionally if we are successful in supporting our mission beyond one region.

We currently have about twenty Facebook groups for people all over the world to network. This is more than just getting ready for the big burn, these spaces are a chance for local producers and community leaders to rally and carry on the mission of Queerburners.

To be clear, our mission is simply to build community through events and education. To promote leadership. And to stand in solidarity to assure we are being heard for our collective safety and welfare in the greater community. We are not an authority or representation of the Borg. But we will stand together and make our needs known like we did in 2016.

Grants

This year we gave out two grants and a well-deserved donation to a project we really loved.

Gender Blender received a grant from us to help promote their message and support their education and performance programs on playa. We love the work Ariel and her crew do off and on-playa through their active programming.

And Midnight Outpost who served soup from a Soup Cart on deep playa bringing Asian and Queer culture together in a way that shares the best of both worlds.

We made a donation to one of the most talked about projects at Burning Man this year called The Afterlife by Blitzy, Chickpea and a group of amazing volunteers.

Changes

Truthfully, since the pandemic with Corona virus we have been changed as a community. There has been a thematic shift in the priorities and what we need and expect. Not just from each other, but our leadership. There were a LOT of new camps placed this year. There were a lot of smaller camps who were part of bigger camps that broke free to create their own spaces.

How we burn has shifted. What we need for self care and what we can give has changed too. My own priorities have changed, and as I speak to different people in our community I can testify to the huge shift in what we hold dear.

Acknowledgements

That is why when I admire how some of the leadership in our community are able to marshall tremendous resources and create with so much passion, I am left in awe, I have to send out a few shout-outs before I go tonight.

Christian Williams who had brought the BAAAHS sheep out there year after year actively supporting other projects, social causes and community along the way and how he is able to get so many people behind him.
Mary from Tomorrow Lambs for her success in building her own camp and making it such a presence on playa for 2022
Comfort and Joy for always demonstrating their commitment to the values we hold dear and work so hard to lead
Dr. Dilemma aka Mark who actively does so much for the Queerborhoods behind the scenes and works hard for the BMorg
Rui Rita and his people from Glamcocks who, with his team, always delivers mind blowing architecture and events
And Ariel Vergosen from Gender Blender who gives constantly in producing educational and entertainment programming, not to mention a safe place for people who are Trans, Gender Non Conforming and Questioning bodies on the playa.

Conclusion

Queerburners need more engagement from the community and people who might drive the ship into the next generation. We have been actively looking for people with the desire and ability to take this to the next level.

Simply put, the thirteen years Queerburners has existed and evolved is not the same institution that can coast into the future. Our services are for the strength and success of the people we serve.

You can find recruitment links on our website queerburners.org, sign up for our mailing list on the same link, and find all kinds of information.

Starts a little over a minute in.

Burning Man 2023 – A trip report from the Future Turtles

Editors note: This afterburn report was written by Jetpack from the Future Turtles and reflects their experience alone. If you participated in Burning Man and would like to add your trip report to this blog, we’d love to publish it! Just email us at info@queerburners.org.

We went home!

For the 36 turtles who came to Black Rock City this year, it was an incredible year.

The conditions were… hard. Burning Man is always hard, but this year was worse than usual. The weather was hotter. There were more dust storms and whiteouts, which always seemed to be at the least convenient times (the build team put up most of the camp in super windy whiteout conditions). The things that we depend on the Burning Man organization to get right (roads, ice, fuel, gate and exodus) … were not right.

As a camp, we had doubled in size, and a majority of us (24) had never been to Burning Man before. We were way more ambitious in terms of the camp we built, the interactive programs we put on, the quality of the food we made, and a lot more.

There was a ton of work, but we were ready for it, and we got it all done. Everybody pitched in, even the sparkly newbies, so, thank you, sparkly newbies.

Advance Work

One of the things that made Burning Man easy this year was a large amount of work that was done in advance to get ready. We had two work weekends in Reno getting all our gear cleaned, sorted, and ready to go. Our San Francisco turtles built a beautiful wood bar and DJ booth that will serve us for years to come.

Early Build Week

The early build team converged in Reno a full week before the start of the event. We loaded trucks and unboxed new gear, and bought a lot of supplies, before heading to playa and arriving at a city that was still mostly empty. We could see the Man from our tents because the entire area from Esplanade to D was unbuilt.

For the first night, our priority was just to build our own tents so we had a place to sleep. Unfortunately, at about 2am, a major wind storm swept through our little camp. We had built a minimal shade structure without side tarps, which became something of a sail in the wind. Unprotected by tarps, the Shiftpods started to blow away. 

After a few minutes we realized that we had to wake up, find masks and goggles, and rebuild the entire camp, in the midst of an incredible windstorm and whiteout conditions, and make it much stronger so we could go to sleep again. Which is what we did.

The whiteout and windy conditions continued for much of build week. There were some breaks, but most of the week was incredibly difficult. Try to imagine spreading out a 14 x 48 canvas tarp on the ground in 20mph winds and getting it nailed down to the playa smoothly… now do that six times.

By the third evening on playa we had assembled enough infrastructure to shower off (with a garden hose and kiddie pool), finally, which was probably the highlight of build week. Even though we got dusty again 20 seconds later, it was nice to get clean for a minute.

Late Build Week

Deliveries started arriving at our camp site: a big generator shared with Gender Blender and 8-bit Bunny, the two trailers with all our gear, an insane amount of produce which we stuffed into our limited refrigerators, ten cases of corn on the cob we never ordered, a big tank of water that we used up in two days, a big empty tank for grey water, and two porto-potties. The camp started to take shape.

Meanwhile more turtles were arriving in Reno trying to gather up and pack the rest of the gear we needed: huge amounts of food and groceries, an insane amount of liquor, an annoying trailer with three dozen bicycles, and every other little thing that could not be obtained on playa.

Arrivals

Most turtles take the Burner Bus Express… we love this because you don’t have to wait in huge lines to enter and exit the event. People trickled in on Saturday, Sunday, and as late as Monday, but everyone made it in time for our big kick-off party Monday night.

Our location, in the middle of a block, did not have much traffic walking by, so our events were for the most part attended by neighbors who noticed our incredible DJs and our attractive camp, or people who had heard about the legendary turtles and who came to see what everyone was talking about.

Desert HiiT Workouts

It seems unlikely when the temperatures are in the upper 90s, but we had plenty of takers for our daily 11:00am high intensity interval training workouts. We took this a lot more seriously than some of you may remember from 2019. All the exercises were done in pairs which added a nice social element. People got a real workout, and a lot of them kept coming back throughout the week; on some days our space was at capacity.

A real music program

With two great resident DJs, several guest DJs, and even a couple of newbies learning the ropes, we always had great music. Our sound system with six big speakers sounded amazing in the clear desert air.

It’s always hard to find and play the kind of music that everyone likes, bur our DJs did it. I was pretty astonished to have multiple people come up to me and say that they love, love, loved all the music … including several people whose musical tastes I know to be completely non-overlapping.

We had a very specific vibe in mind at the Future Turtles: cheerful, progressive, melodic house, one strict rule (“no pop!”) and the intent that you should never hear anything that you’ve heard in the real world before—the idea was that you should never hear a “song” that you recognized that reminded you of the default world, because Burning Man is most powerful when you can get absorbed in the alien world and never get yanked back to the default.

Great Food

With so many burners subsisting on granola bars and gifted pickles, we actually got a huge delivery of fresh produce and produced two amazing, nutritious hot meals a day, with options for vegans and unlimited snacks available 24/7. Our team of designated chefs (with the assistance of literally everyone, who did one or two kitchen shifts) produced food that was consistently healthy and tasty and really kind of astonishing given the conditions in which it was produced.

Bar

We had an organized bar with a full drinks program including premixed alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails every evening. We were surprised to find how popular the non-alcoholic options were. 

Everything was super tasty. We even had everything we needed to make custom drinks for people (if we liked them enough, of course). Another huge highlight of the drinks program was Jorge’s cold brew coffee every morning.

Oh man, that Pillow Fort

Thanks the creative design of Oscar with tons of help from Andre and other turtles, we created what was probably the most magical space on the entire playa, a quiet, soft, air-conditioned underwater aquarium space that was dedicated to naps during the day (to catch up on sleep) and adult activities during the night. With magical dayglo decorations, Arduino-controlled black light animations creating a “wave” effect, magical music and even a scent program, the pillow fort was truly a spectacular new feature of the camp.

I’ve been talking about a lot of stuff. Burning Man is about the People.

To be honest it’s easy to get wrapped up in describing our infrastructure, but the whole camp would have sucked if we didn’t have such great people. And there’s no way to sum up the life-transforming experiences of 36 lovely turtles—heck, there’s no way even to convey the insane experiences we all had.

We saw a glimpse of the greatest work of collaborative art ever created in the history of mankind, an artwork created in the audacious medium of a civilization, cooperatively created by 70,000 untrained artists.

We danced, and we slept through dances.

We explored, and we missed 95% of what there was to find.

We faffed, but we got there.

We learned how much more we are capable of than we thought, and we also learned how to ask our neighbors for help.

We fucked up massively, but we always got our shit together.

We were together. We had moments of insanely painful loneliness.

We apologized for past mistakes, and made new ones.

We felt the greatest joy we had ever felt, but also cried our hearts out.

We found love, and lost love.

We were transformed.

The Future Turtles can be found on the Internet at futureturtles.com.

Health Care Emergency Alert

Here are some ideas for camps to manage boundaries. Thank you Bernadette Bohan for the images. (More below)

Camps preparing for Burning Man this year are taking the extra steps to establish policies for fellow campers and visitors to their camps. Everyone is buzzing about the things you need to be ready for when hitting the dust. Burning Man put out a policy statement in their blog stating their position.

The biggest elephant in the room right now is Covid. The current strain is causing havoc in the world right now but thankfully the serious nature of the infection is reduced that, many people have received the vaccine. Not to make the situation sound less than it is, but it is important we honor our own care and the safety and health of our community.

  • Be up to date on Covid vaccinations and be prepared to show if asked for it*
  • Take and show a negative over the counter Covid test before heading to the burn*
  • Bring up to 4 over the counter tests with you. Camps are working on policies to handle surprise positive tests*
    • thank you queer camp leads from AstroPups, Gaylactic Village, Future Turtles and more.

*these are not Burning Man policies, but camp leads are talking and sharing policies on how to approach these health issues facing all of us right now.

Monkeypox

There seems to be a lot of mystery surrounding the vaccine. One of the biggest ones is where to get it. Slowly those resources are opening but, they are extremely slow. Here are some resources that might be useful for people looking for anything they can find. The CDC has some guidelines.

“Compelling data from monkey and human studies suggest a single dose of the vaccine—produced by Bavarian Nordic and sold under three different brand names—solidly protects against monkeypox, and that the second dose mainly serves to extend the durability of protection.”

Science.Org

There are still mixed reviews by professionals about the viability of the single dose theory. This article is not offering any facts, medical advice or knowledge of these issues. Use the resources in our community and talk to your leadership about the steps they will take for your community, camp, or other group well-being.

Camps with Policies

Astropups, according to Russ, will be releasing a new policy next week we will post here. According to Russ: “What’s in it? Guidance for our campers for (Before the Burn, Travel to Playa, On Playa, and Return Travel, as appropriate) with regard to Covid19, MPX, Consent, STI, and Food Handling.” “Note: we are requiring everyone to be vaxxed for C19, and are encouraging (and assisting where possible) MPX vaccination.”

Mystopia folks have a very flushed out policy guide they are leading with and have published <click here to see in google docs<. Accrording to James: “Our goal is to keep rapidly spreading infectious issues  to a minimum. While we are concerned about COVID and MonkeyPox, the regular stomach flu and common colds are of concern and actually more common.  A LOT of symptoms can feel… well… just like Burning Man, so pay attention to yourself and others.  Checking in on campmates is a huge component of camp health.”

New annual map is out!

Every burn year since …. way back… I produced a map placing camps based on the addresses camps published after they were released from Placement. A few people asked about it and I was very glad to do it again. Here is version 1!

It is all done in fun. There are probably more details that camps might have, but this shows how we are distributed in the city. It is important for a variety of reasons.

Where are the queers at? How do we find out own. As radically inclusive as we are, there are a lot of queer people who want (even temporarily) to be among like people. And part of the whole deal is we also welcome the un-like people.

The Queerborhood provides a valuable service and brings a unique energy to Black Rock City. It is vital to protect and nurture that. It is vital to curate and welcome new participants.

A 2015 survey from Black Rock Census showed us that a third of the city identified as queer, which is telling in a lot of ways. Whether it is a population who is actually non-straight or a co-opting of the word queer because cultural norms have shifted.

Updated should be made at www.blog.queerburners.org/directory with a camp submission. The next update will come out within a week.

Rainbow Leadership Series Ep.2: Queerborhoods

Where: Online only
When: April 21, from 8pm to 9pm or later as needed
How: Register for direct access on Eventbrite
Who: As of 4/10 leads from BAAAHS, C&J, GlamCocks, Camp Beaverton, Gender Blender (Queerdome)

I invited select leaders in the community from some of the most known camps to speak about the Queerborhood in recent history and share ideas for the new age we have entered post covid (an assumption and maybe an unrealistic view). How can we help open a path to better collaboration and presentation without curating ourselves into a corner away from intrinsically inspired content that is spontaneous and inviting.

The Queerborhood in 7:30 has gone through a lot of evolution over time and continues to shapeshift. The splitting of Queerborhoods in 2019 was the first major change. 

The 4:30 Queerborhood anchored by BAAAHS was not the only Queerborhood that emerged over the years. Users have often generated spaces grown and fostered out of a need for safety and community. This includes Burner Buddies and others over time. 

On Thursday on April 21 8pm, I am inviting a panel to talk about Burning Man 2022. What are the needs of th Queer community and how do leaders in those sectors want to inspire, enrich and mentor our community into more enriching and accountable space. 

Rainbow Leadership Series 1: Services and Placement

On March 26 we do a Zoom meeting with Placement and OSS as the headliner. (1.5 to 2 hours)
Queerburners presents a series of programs to prepare for return to the playa in 2022 and to make our Queerborhoods shine by inspiring collaboration, resource sharing, and community and culture building together.

– 13:00 We start at 1pm with Toaster welcoming people to the Rainbow Leadership Series
– 13:05 Level: Placement and the Queerborhoods
– 13:20 Q&A
– 13:25 Galaxy and President talk about OSS and a new program for reducing our impact on the playa with new power solutions
– 13:40 Q&A
– 13:45 Farmer: to talk about storage and other services available in Gerlach and Empire that he wants Queer Camps to be aware of
– 14:00 AJ from Gerlach: Wants to talk about Gerlach Gay Pride

Farmer will talk about a growing Queer Culture in Gerlach
We are asking everyone to register through Eventbrite so the we have a an accountable audience and limit potential spammers and disruptors. We will have someone monitoring and stacking hands for Q&A.

– April – Queerborhoods
– May – Queerstory w/ Harley K DuBois
– June – RiDE the Rainbow, a RIDE initiative

Hi its Ariel (Trixie) and I’m inviting you to Gender Blender on March 25 in Oakland!

Details here – After two long years of being six feet apart we are thrilled to be making our Cumback!!! You waited so patiently, and we’re DELIGHTED to invite you to Gender Blender’s long-awaited CUMback play and dance party! This party is for people of all genders with a priority on creating a safer, consent-focused space for trans, genderqueer, GNC + questioning folks to get their groove on. Our play parties offer a sensuous space to explore, indulge, and celebrate what turns you on. It’s gonna be hot, intimate, & kinky!

Chill in the BYOB bar, get down on the dance floor, enjoy performances by trans and genderqueer artists, meet new friends, or kink it up, well, anywhere! All levels of play are welcome, from first-timers to sexperts~

DOORS OPEN 8 PM
OPENING CIRCLE 8:30 PM
PERFORMANCES PLAY SPACES OPEN 9 PM
~PLAY! DANCE! REVELRY!~
DOORS CLOSE MIDNIGHT WRAP IT UP 2 AM

Private event. 21+. BYOB.

Proof of vax + negative PCR test <72hours or rapid test <24hours.

To attend you MUST arrive with a “PAL”. PALs are pairs/groups of 2+ guests who can vouch for each other, and will be responsible for each other for the night.

Safer sex supplies provided, and our lovely house caddies will be on call to deliver them to you, or fetch you a toy from our party stash.

How to get in on the action:

  1. Become a Mission Control Member: http://events.missioncontrolsf.org/sessions/new (free, but must be done in advance)
  2. Volunteer to get in FREE: https://forms.gle/3Ha4CGhYw4kKjss9A -or- Buy your tickets: https://events.missioncontrolsf.org/events/40862/orders/new
  3. Want to see who’s going, match, chat, and meet the community?

Check out Gender Blender CUMBACK Party! on the Bloom Community app: https://bl.ooo/m/gender-blender-cumback-party. Don’t forget to invite all the cuties you just can’t wait any longer to see… If you have something special you’d like to share at this event, need a low-income discount, or have any questions, please contact one of the event hosts (Alex or Trixie/Ariel)

ALSO happening! Theme Camp and Project Speed Dating!
To participate: > Link to Eventbrite <
To present your camp or project: > Link <
This is an in-person event, indoor with a covid policy contained on the Eventbrite Site

RLS: Rainbow Leadership – Series?

The vision of the RLS has always been to create a platform for queer leaders and our allies to collaborate and meet the needs of our community on the playa for Waking Dreams: Burning Man 2022. What special needs? Among them are safety and security of our camps and participants. Our voice is as unique as other special groups on playa, and our special sauce is bigger and better now with 2 Queerborhoods and more are self manifesting.

We are going to present the same content in smaller doses over time before the big event in the Black Rock Desert. Stay tuned as we prepare this new channel that can be received around the world.

February 22 News letter sent 2/9

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We are all about Community – That’s YOU!

Queeerburners is excited about the way 2022 is already starting to unfold. There are so many amazing opportunities coming up and chances to come together. And whether it comes from an internally produced event or someone in our community we are excited to see everyone sparkle. 
Produced Events from Queerburners
  • Rainbow Leadership Summit – San Francisco’s Upper Haight 3/26 to 3/27 (Eventbrite)
  • Theme Camp Speed Dating – San Francisco Upper Haight 3/26 (Eventbrite)
  • Spring Retreat Camping Event – East Park Reservoir 5/6-8 (TicketSpice – Coming Soon)
Community Events you should explore!
  • Mystopia: Electroluxx – San Francisco Feb 12 – The Midway
  • Kostume Cult – Miami @ Love Burn Feb 11 – Facebook
  • Glamcocks: Double Feature – San Francisco Feb 25 – The Midway
  • Comfort & Joy: Touch – Saturday, Mar 12 – TBA
  • Gender Blender Party – Oakland’s Mission Control Mar 25
    (Discount for RLS Attendees) – TBA
  • Comfort & Joy: Touch – Saturday, Apr 23 – TBA
  • Comfort & Joy: AfterGlow Pride – Saturday, Jun 25 – TBA
  • Burning Man Theme Camp Symposium  – 4/30**
Important Dates (tickets.burningman.org)
  • Stewards Ticket Sales Form Opens – Feb 23 to Mar 4
  • Stewards Ticket Sale – Mar 9 to 11th
  • Main Sale Registration – Mar 23 to 25th
  • Main Ticket Sale – Mar 30th
  • Ticket Aide Program Form Opens – Mar 16 to May 18 (may close earlier)
  • Ticket Aide Ticket Sale – May 23 – 25th
**announced in Placement news letter 2/7 >See email here<
This event is a focus on the Queerborhoods where our focus on our return in 2022 to Waking Dreams for camp and project leaders. That includes new and veteran  camp and communtiy builders to nurture a safe and accountable space that  is raised to the highest level we can rech as a community. 
Get involved today!
  • To sign up as a volunteer for the Rainbow Leadership Summit > click here <
  • To sign up as a volunteer for the Speed Dating event > click here
  • To sign up as a camp, project or other for Speed Dating > click here <
Queerburner services and community support
  • Is your camp listed on our Camp Directory yet? > click here <
  • or… are you looking for a camp still?  > click here <
  • or… go to the local Theme Camp / Project Speed Dating near you!
Queerburners is a 501c3 organization as a social organization for LGBTQIA+ our allies and friends. We are a volunteer driven organization and are actively in need to people to help drive our mission and promote our activities. Check us out on www.blog.queerburners.org today and learn more.
  • Blog entry: We need help : Looking for new Treasurer and Communications Director (&Team)
  • Tax Deductible Donation to Queer Burners today: > click here <
Other important places to give back in our community
Queerburners Needs Help!
 
 
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Hey folks, this is Toaster. Until I find someone to take over the Communications part of our system here I will try and get one newsletter out a month with general updates and information I can find. There is not a lot of input from people outside of the Bay Area, but I am actively looking for information for anywhere specifically related to LGBTQAI+ participants and our allies. Sign up today to get a dose of queerness in your inboxes!

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