Let’s Talk About … IT

Starting somewhere around 2006 an active member of the community named Mario Cisneros started a gay pride parade event that would begin at the foot of the man and wind into the city. It was usually a well turned out event because politically there was a lot still going on in the United States and in some other parts of the world where LGBT and other sexual self identifying people were struggling for rights and not to forget Mario’s flare for getting people together.

Burning Man Gay Pride
Mario: Left Side of Screen

Mario was part of Moonbow camp. It was, at least for a period of time, usually found near 3:00 and C in Black Rock City and was where the original Official Queer Burner Meet & Greet was before it moved over to the Down Low Club. All of this was done, at least through 2016, in Mario’s memory thanks to several members of the community struggling to keep it alive.

Mario Cisneros
Mario Cisneros

In 2014 the popularity and attendance started to wain and the organizer tried to update the concept to make it more interesting to the community at large but it never really caught fire. Mario passed in 2012 so from 2012 to 2015 Toaster from the Sun Guardians Village tried mastering it with a more pub crawl / parade vibe. Justin from Camp Proper took over in 2016 and had about the same, perhaps slightly better success than what Toaster finished with.

What Happen to LGBT Pride at Burning Man?

When talking about LGBT Pride in Black Rock City there was a dichotomy that was grossly apparent even in a part of the city that has been traditionally called the Gayborhood (to Rainbow Road for inclusivity). On one hand there was a thought that ALL burners were playing on the same field and there was no more us versus them. In fact, the powers that be at Burning Man Headquarters have stated they want to see queer camps dispersed through the city.

On the other hand, there are a lot of Queer Burners who have asked the Burning Man Organization to keep the queer neighborhood in tact for reasons of safety and security which has already been discussed in previous posts on this site. There was a theory that LGBTQAI feel threatened physically and emotionally on various levels; specifically female and non-conforming gender identities based on a recent survey (May 2016 by the Queer Burner Leadership Network); that the close quarters of Queer Camps help created a layer of safety and refuge for vulnerable queers and women.

The various positions on Pride at Burning Man made even a seasoned queer pause and doubt the importance of celebrating ones social/sexual self as opposed to others. The drive behind pride, at least within the fence around Black Rock City, became lost in the dust at some point.

Why Pride?

Why to Burning Man of all places? Most people think of Burning Man as the adult playground of love and harmony. EVERYONE loves each other and free hugs abound. This is the story that touches every soul who is compelled back annually and let nothing get in their way. All of that is absolutely true.

The dark underbelly of that has been physical and sexual assault that has resulted in a powerful and present campaign by great organizations like BED (Bureau of Erotic Discourse) and Safe Place.

But back to pride… there are a lot of old queerdos that go to Burning Man who are 80 years old and there are a lot of young people who never saw those battles in the streets for equality. To some Stonewall was an honorable mention in a history book (maybe) or something written on a rainbow flag they saw in June (gay pride month).

  • In our lifetime, even today, a person can be killed – loose their job – be thrown out of their home – all just for being LGBT. It does not matter what your age is. This happens today.
  • In our lives we queers are often forced by survival to choose our own faemily (spelling intentional) because the ones we were raised with cannot relate.
  • Queer teens are, as long as records have been kept, have the highest rates of suicide.

Pride, even if YOU as an individual don’t need it in the moment, that you know you have a softer place to go to if your other system fails. It is a light, rainbow colored, that will embrace.

Pride has FAILED some people who feel shamed or ostracized by their contemporaries or elders. As much as we try and sweep up the wreckage and want to heal that soul sometimes we cannot.

Pride and self worth is something we as a community embrace on our own terms, but as a community stand together to be that soft cushion for those in need where we can. The key word: Community. No matter how many people who cannot understand that history and vulnerability that are out there, the rest of us have to stand strong and bright so darkness does not win.

LGBT Pride and Burning Man

It has always seemed clear that the 10 Principles written by Larry Harvey for Burning Man were things that would resonate with LGBT people, specifically because it already represents what we have been trying to do our whole lives. It would seem the white-hetero-heavy board of directors for Burning Man were looking for the same exact thing as Queer Burners and people residing in the Rainbow Road section of the city.

According to the 2015 census 1/3rd of the citizens of Black Rock City are LGBT self identified. In 2016 the questions on the survey changed somewhat thanks to input from members of the Gender Blender camp to the powers that be that included more definitive terms people can self identify in the 2016 census. Look up #demographics on this site to see past census data.

The 10 Principles draw some parallel lines to basic needs from Burning Man participants to Queer Burners as a substructure of that community as a whole.

Out of the 70,000 people of Black Rock City only a small percentage actively engage in the Rainbow Road sector comparatively. However, the energy generated by queer camps has attracted mixed and mostly straight camps to the same sector for the same benefits queer camps have asked for. Camps like Orphan Endorphine identify as queer friendly and have been great community partners who want to be near us.

2017 Pride

There is yet new blood working on a 2017 event at Burning Man with new management. It is with great hope and anticipation we will see more of the community drawing together under the 2017 pride banner. We have a responsibility to represent the best qualities of ourselves and our community.

There have been some true champions in this story over the years. Many are shown in the #Queer Burners People hashtag who have contributed to this effort over time. Collectively Gender Blender, Beaverton and Glamcocks have made great strides in building bridges in and out of the queer neighborhood.

There is a vital need for LGBT Pride! Our fight is not over. All the rights bestowed upon us in the USA could vanish in a month, a week, or any amount of time. Even at Burning Man, there is still a chance that Placement will dismantle the queer camps in spite of our arguments to the contrary. The truth is there are more arguments against it out there than for it. We need to keep pride, community, and being present for those that need a hand always in mind.

If you are the one who needs that hand then talk to people… but a hand is different than a handout and radical self reliance is a scary road.

And finally: Placement has not taken a position to dismantle the queer neighborhood completely but it is a reality we might soon need to face. There was talk about breaking it in half at a 2016 meeting attended by your community leaders. Use your voice for good and together we will be a stronger community. Be engaged and help us promote a better united and supportive hug to embrace those when they need it.

News letter from 10/13

October Part II View this email in your browser

** October Part 2 ————————————————————

Here is to hoping everyone and their many touching #ComingOutDay messages seen on line this week. This is a great primer as we see the announcement for ALL OF US 2017 (the new Queer Burner Retreat) is on the horizon. BUT, we are looking for help still… we are looking for:

* An Accountant

* Stage Manager

* Choreographer

Just email us or reply to this email. The production Team will be meeting in the beginning of November and are looking for someone engaged as soon as possible. It is best if this person is in the Bay Area, but not absolutely required. These are paid positions, part time.

Big Announcements coming in the mid November mailer about ALL OF US 2017 – including tickets sales, ways camps can make a presence, the ways people can access the event that could not do it before, and out campaign for INCLUSIVITY!

** EVENTS & HAPPENINGS ————————————————————

From the calendar!
* San Francisco: Cosmic Ranch 2016 Burning Man Deco (https://www.facebook.com/events/168549850255182
* World Wide: Hugs Across America (https://www.facebook.com/events/296284867393010/
* New York City: Playa in the Park (https://www.facebook.com/events/1608200769472687/
* Colorado: Denver DeCOmpression – The Atomic (https://www.facebook.com/events/1839492569612308/
* Oakland: Exxxhibition – An artistic celebration of (https://www.facebook.com/events/1161140213927069/
* San Francisco: SpiceRack: Trumpacolypse! (https://www.facebook.com/events/351848188490599/
* San Francisco: 7th Annual SuperHero Street Fair 2016 (https://www.facebook.com/events/173711622995981/
* New York City: Haus of Yes – Pink Mammoth (http://Tickets: https://www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx
* Yorkville: Groundswell Halloween 2016 (https://www.facebook.com/events/1313540668657288/
* San Francisco: Ghost Ship Halloween: Atlantis (https://www.facebook.com/events/1779256285686456/
* Sacramento: Spark the Dark – Sacramento Burning Man (https://www.facebook.com/events/660141257469081/
* San Francisco: ALL OF US Production Team Meeting – closed meeting for producers Nov 3rd

LAS VEGAS: Going to Vegas anytime soon? The Phoenix Bar 4213 W Sahara Ave is Burner and Queer Burner owned space! They have weekly meet-ups. Check them out! https://www.facebook.com/thephoenixlv

COLORADO: has a new Regional Queer Burner Page!!! More to come, but this page has already taken on some amazing life!!! https://www.facebook.com/groups/216147918803048/

SAN FRANCISCO: Did you know that there are a lot of local businesses owned by burners? QBar, Midnight Sun and Beaux are all owned by a local burner business man who is committed to the community.


** COMMUNITY AWARENESS ————————————————————

How many people on your feed are experiencing a hard time? The increase in Cancer in the community is scary! Keep your thoughts, prayers, well wishes and wallets available for those asking for help! #fuckcancer hashtag for those supporting the fight for cancer.

Mental Health is also something very important! Many camp leaders and participants suffer from Anxiety and Depression and can’t … literally can’t ask for help. Be mindful of our community and be a supporter. All it takes to start is a smile and the show of love and support. Don’t find out when it is too late.

Naked Pub Crawl

source: www.aussielicious.com.au

2016 Mens Naked Pub CrawlWell it’s out. One of the most popular events happening on the playa is the Naked Pub Crawl aka Men’s Naked Bike Ride… although not technically synonymous. It is of course a radically inclusive event, but also attracts mostly gay men. By the time it is done people are feeling… well… no pain.

(click to view image > and hit the back button in the browser to escape)

This typically happens on Wednesday at 11am and lasts until the early afternoon. There are hundreds of people engaged in it and is is a lot of fun.

The organizers posted this imaged on the Queer Burners Facebook group and have indicated there might be more changes coming. But, we can be assured that the event is scheduled and will start at The Man* then off to Barbie Death Camp.

One big change this year is the giant Circle Jerk is not happening at the end of the ride. The organizer has moved the Circle Jerk to Thursday asking for a focus on the ceremony of a circle jerk. This is good for a variety of people. The limits and strengths are +/- for people because in the ceremony you can’t go-down on someone or start fucking. There is a discipline needed and the challenge of patience.

Link to the Bike ride in Playa Events

Link to the Circle Jerk in Playa Events

The writeup from Playa Events (linked above):

Since 2004, hundreds of burners meet at the Man and pedal off into the City for a few hours of bar hopping and good cheer! Multiple host camps will have bartenders standing by with icy libations prepared exclusively for the riders. Among this year’s host camps are Barbie Death Camp & Wine Bistro, Duckpond, Cubhouse, BAAAHS, and Celestial Bodies. The ride culminates with an 80s Jazzercise Dayglo afterparty hosted by the wonderful folks at Comfort & Joy. If you’re willing to meet the dress code, join us for one of the goofiest parties on the playa. No statement or political agenda; just riding our bikes, drinking some cocktails, and making new friends. Oh yeah, and we’re naked. Mugs for the first 500 riders (and yeah, we always run out). Cheers!


Events Information for BM 2016

The creator of the Time to Burn App has provided one of the most widely used online tools for the playa for your smart phone. While many people argue that devices like that are one of the reasons TTITD is in the middle of the desert, it is also more useful that the What Where When booklet because it holds a lot more events than are listed in it.

The What Where When booklet you get upon arrival, with the official sticker inside, can only hold approximately 15000 entries while there are a lot more than that on playa. Apps like Time to Burn and iBurn utilize the whole playaevents database. The more value added side of Time to Burn is that he has been able to ferret out many of the LGBTQ camps/events and associate the #lgbt hashtag that makes it more useful to our community.

Has need and technology voided the usefulness of the What Where When booklet? That is for the future participants to decide. We have the links where you can download your copy of the app for free. 


Preparation – Some Basics

How prepared are you? It seems like a lot of people have sought out camps in the last month or so to fill a surprising high amount of camp openings. In those numbers, it seems like there were a lot of Burgins (Virgin Burners). Many people start their preparation as early as January.

So what resources should you be checking to make yourself ready?


Before going out, do everything you can to make yourself aware of the 10 Principles and how they apply to life out there and in your life outside the playa. Why do you need to know these things before participating in the event in the desert?

The 10 Principles came into life long after Burning Man started being a thing and were written by Larry Harvey one of the original founders. They were created in the spirit of fostering participation and community in a place completely hostile to it.

They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.” -burningman.org

Prepare yourself for participation and inclusion. As festival culture grows and expands the difference between the resources of this community and others is the fundamentals they are based on.

Burner Express is not enough: Making Shit Happen

Apparently the need for sustainable transportation that reduces the impact of cars on Gerlach and Black Rock City is bigger than Burner Express (BE) buses can provide. While many of us are grateful for a means of self-reliant transportation WHAT Burner Express was has expanded to is including air travel. They have even gone to the level of offering tickets to TTITD in conjunction with their BE ticket.

While Burner Express is a ray of sunshine for participants for many organizers who build the city are hampered a little by the service which means there are fewer people to help build, take out refuse and assist with breakdown. Yes, BE passengers are each given a recycling bag and a trash bag and can take out one of each. All camp leaders should make sure BE riders are doing their share.


There are some camps making their own express buses out of a need to get their people on site and reduce impact on the playa. We can only hope that these groups are getting the same direct access as Burner Express, but we are moving in baby steps. We are reducing impact on the environment and helping BMorg to achieve their goals.

At least 2 camps have been posting about a bus service they rallied and are looking for riders to get to Burning Man (TTITD). If you are still looking for transportation and cannot hook up with someone in your camp already then this service can be a good fit.

GLAMCOCKS (from Chris Ruiz) [Original post since taken down]

Started a campaign to get a bus out but as of this post we found out that the project was started but was not financially solvable. It was exciting to see and then Mystopia said they were trying to do something too it made sense to talk about both. Why bring it up if not happening… to show that there is a need and then we have Mystopia:

MYSTOPIA (from Jake) [Original post on Queer Burner Facebook Group]

The Mystopia Burner Bus tickets are now available for the 7:30 Sector neighborhood camps, so take the opportunity to grab your tickets now. Below is all the pertinent information, please let me know if you have any questions and please distribute to your fellow campers as you see fit!


Jake Standish aka Ms. Frizzle aka Always Something


Tickets are $88 each direction.
(Less than the $108 for the official Burner Bus)

Burning Man opens in a f*ing Month

The whirlwind is here and for those of us building camps we are in crunch time. It is the mission of this site to be a platform that helps the community in their creative and community building efforts. That being said what we do out there at TTITD has a reflection on what we do beyond the trash fence.

CAMP BUILDERS have resources you should be engaged with:

These are the community wide resources out there. The Haven (mentioned above) is a new feature this year that may or may-not make it to the playa. None the less, it is good to know and use.

PARTICIPANTS should use every resource out there. Acculturation is absolutely vital for Burgins (Burning Man Virgins) to know what they are getting into. We will be listing queer camps, queer friendly (not implying those that are no listed are not queer friendly), and then we will also have key events.



Mailer: July Addon



Yikes! 1 quick correction and an addendum

View this email in your browser

Sup’s Important

Not to weigh down your in box but there are a couple more notes from our calendar and happenings.

A link was broken on the last email:
We have this fund raiser that is about to end and we really need to meet our goal. It is only $2500 but that will do a lot for Queer Burners.
1. every few bucks helps out
2. some of the higher rewards will get you early access to the 2017 event on Mdemorial Day weekend.

Follow this link: to Indiegogo

Theme Camp News

Believe it or not there are a few camps still looking for people for TTITD. Want to camp with a Theme Camp? Each one of these brings a distinctly different flavor to the playa.

Thank you all for your participation and help this year with the Queer Burner Retreat. The next year is going to be absolutely amazing so stay tuned for more and exciting announcements for the next year.

These camps listed above posted on Queer Burners they were looking for people.


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Too White to be Queer

The theme this year was : “Incusivity”. The production team form the 2016 Retreat worked very hard to make the event itself safe, welcoming and desirable for people of mixed gender and race. We had a significant amount of success depending on your point of view.

Another gay, white, male member of this community met with another gay, white, male of this community this week and they talked about the work being done to include those who have been marginalized in the LGBTQQ construct and both had wondered the same thing. How are they continually dismissed for being gay, white, males – thus dismissed – by people not wanting to be marginalized?

There is no right answer, because agreeing or disagreeing is an ‘us versus them‘ thinking that benefits no one. If it is under the LGBTQQ construct then we are eating ourselves from the inside out. Understanding and patience has to be the banner and hopefully it was a rainbow banner.

It’s clear that gay, white males are the overwhelming participants and camps at Burning Man so that is the demographic that carries that loudest voice by volume. Whatever entitlement and perspective came with that no one has to be marginalized and everyone in this community has a voice.

What they say Post Event: SURVEY RESULTS

Out of 150 attendees we got 42 people who answered a survey about the weekend. Overall it looks like people love GroundSwell, but not their plumbing or the cabins so much. But overall people seem to love it very much. The goal was to capture the general feeling of the event as a whole.

Back2GSquestionThere is little doubt that GroundSwell was very appreciated by everyone attending. While we love the property the production team is already looking at a place that can hold for a larger population next year. The Queer Burner Retreat is not looking to grow significantly, but we feel that the new venue will allow us some growth and the ability to expand what we are offering.

We had no injuries this year, thank goodness. We had no need for any medical assistance or problems with behavior. Everyone was safe and not a single incident was raised that except for 2 minor abrasions that were treated with the first aide kit.

We were fortunate to have a attendee who was a paramedic and he was not needed in that sense.

In regards to GroundSwell there were some comments:

Cut down the tall grass in tent sites to decrease tick activity.

“Time to upgrade that bathhouse! :)”

“…No real suggestions except possibly expanding volunteer roles a bit with like a “bathroom mop” daily or something. But
people were super-cooperative and pitched in. It worked!”


The next biggest area we got comments on was about the events that were offered and not offered. We had a limited program based on the amount of time available on the weekend. A few people asked about having an ice breaker on day 1 which is something we should definitely consider.

  • Day 1: Camp fire meet and greet at 9pm

Maybe they were suggesting some kind of exercise. We did have Dinner Circle wherein people were introduced but if someone has a suggestion in the future that is something that can be implemented please let us know.

4 workshops

  • Inclusivity workshop on Saturday at 10am

This seemed to be a well attended workshop and really took on the banner of the weekend as the Production Team wanted a gender and racially diverse weekend. We went to a lot of effort to try and make sure people felt comfortable.

  • Hats for the Playa on Saturday at 1pm

A nice afternoon crafting workshop with good attendance.

  • Being a Ranger on Sunday at 10am

While the rangers out-numbered the attendees it was really nice and we hope some people felt inspired to explore rangering. I know a few people understand what Rangers do more.

  • Acculturation Sunday at Noon

There were comments about workshops for people new to Burning Man. We did have this piece for newbies and encouraged all new people to attend.

The Food

The survey at the top was very well in favor of the food produced, but there were some people who noted some dissatisfaction. Clearly we need to do better with Vegetarian food as the chef was not as prepared as needed to handle those needs. This falls strictly on Toaster who will make sure that these needs are met next year significantly better.

Lessons Learned

Mistakes happen and the real failure is not doing better next time around. Here are a few areas of note in random order:

  • improved meals for vegetarian diets
  • more clearly defined workshops
  • better explanation of the requirements of consent and personal boundaries among the attendees
  • written agreement with staff
  • making sure property representatives are able to respond to the needs of their guests


The survey we put out was to get a general temperature of what people experienced and how we could do better in the future. There were places we fell down and hope people will give us a chance again next year. Please add comments to this page or continue the dialog in the Groups / Forums part of this web site.