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
РAnd 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.

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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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We Need Help

The time we had during the pandemic allowed us to come together and create Queerburners as a non-profit with a Board that was put together by some pretty amazing folks. But, as we started seeing some return to normal a couple of those folks found they had less time and had to drop off the board, But, we are still in serious need.

The roles of Treasurer and Communications Director are voting members of the board and need representation by someone who is self motivated and can operate in our structure. We’re not a horribly tight rules group of people, but we have certain policies and procedures to assure the health and well being of the group we need to abide by. That includes the 10 Principles. That also includes what is socially and economically responsible to our community, culture and participants.

Treasurer

  • Be at Board meetings and actively engage a committee headed by the Treasurer that focuses on finance. Each meeting happens once a month. There are some other money related committees you might like to be a part of. It is also important that the treasurer is guiding the boat on feduciary responsibility.

Communications Director

  • Be at the Board meetings and actively engage a committee headed by the Communications Director that focuses on all of our channels out of the organization. It comes highly recommended that this position brings in people to take over facets of the job and report to them.
  • e.g.: Social Media Manager: Focuses on social media channels like Twitter Accounts (2), Instagram, and Facebook Groups (13)
  • E.G. Blog Copywriter Manager: Makes sure we have posts on the blog channel scheduled monthly (Bi-monthly or weekly). Sources could come from Board members, community members and other events going on in the community.

Go here to sign up and talk to someone soon: https://blog.queerburners.org/volunteer

Queerburners in the Coming Year

I am so grateful for how much we have done on the 1.5 years it took to get where we are today. We became a nonprofit exactly a year ago and in that time we have worked hard to set the groundwork for our future. Queer Burners has been around since 2008, but the non-profit is a better, leaner and more structured animal. I can tell you that I am not the same person. This project has taken me on a huge journey with amazing people I am so proud to have walked this path with.

It’s hotter, fiercer-er, and hungrier. Meow.

This thing started off to be a place to create an intersection for LGBTQAI burners. It’s not so much that there was no crossroads for that out there, but people were generally very tribal and like any group of humans we stayed in spaces that were safe and familiar. Queerburners has only sought to help expand that and try and create a safe and conventual path to collaboration

The results of ALL OF US in 2017 and 2018 felt like the peak of success. Since 2019 there have been a lot of reasons why the brakes had to be put on the progress that we had achieved. Do we go down or do we keep climbing? I will keep climbing with some ambitious and exciting ideas ahead for 2022.

I expect to be able to announce 3 major events for 2022 produced by Queerburners and our community. We only succeed with collaboration. What we are doing is driven by volunteers and participation. Yes, a few people get paid too! Our creative people have to be paid for their work.

All that is coming. I am so excite for it. I can share hints from the blog, but am waiting to get the okay from the Board and our committees to share more. I am just – that – excited about it.

Fuck yeah.

Here are some other important notes!

  • We are starting our End of Year Fundraising campaign beginning the fist week of December and are asking for the community’s help to keep our expenses down and help maintain accessibility for all of our community. ALL. Donations are tax deductible. Our tax status is linked here > click <
  • We need more volunteers and people to help drive this space ship > click here <

Toaster

Leadership and Board Meetings

Today I made sure our Board Meetings were published for community review to see the road we are heading down. Hopefully it will demonstrate our commitment to the community and being socially responsible. While the board is largely Caucasian, so far 100% CIS, majority male, with some diversity in queerness we are still missing a lot of faces reflecting the body of the people we hope to participate with and hear from when it comes to the programming and voice we are putting forward.

Current Committees

  • Communications (Website, Social Media, Technology)
  • Events
    • All Of Us 2021 – Proposal Pending
    • Spirited 2021 – Proposal Pending
    • All Of Us (East Coast) – Pre-proposal
  • Budgeting and Finance
  • Documentation Management

The future as a 501.c3 Organization

Queer Burners has been around since 2008 and has hosted Community and Leadership events over the years. It has also produced patches, created a network for LGBTQAI Burning Man participants to engage each other, and is always evolving.
At the same time the web page and service have often been static, has largely depended on a single person, and struggled to be financially solvent and stable to meet lofty goals. The good news that this is changing right now.

2 Teams have been meeting bi-weekly since May to prepare for a brighter future. It has been very exciting and inspiring so far. We are actively looking for stakeholders in leaders of today and tomorrow who want to be part of something brighter.

  • Events Team – Planning for ALL OF US 2021 and other new events over time.
  • Comms Team – Updating and evolving the web site, social media and communications.

We are also working towards becoming a 501.c3 which opens the door for us to do new and amazing things that is also so very exciting. By doing that we will need more people at the core to bring their talents to the table so we can establish a Board. Those roles have not been specifically defined yet so the field is open. However, there are a couple skill sets we are seeking right now (see below).

  • Lawyer and / or Law Student to be a Board Member in the role of Clerk & Clerk Assistant
  • CPA/Accountant to be a Board Member in the role of Treasurer
  • Writer/Editor to possibly be a member of the Board who will be the funnel for all external communications, press release, and promotions as Comms Manager.

Every interest is appreciated! If you want to go deep or to be a helper at an event we are embracing it all. If so please complete this form or share it with friends who you think might be a good fit: https://forms.gle/uFW62AE4yZJeKmos8 . Some of you might have filled this out already.

More news! With our 501.c3 status we will actively be looking to support artists with sponsorship for their work! For me personally this is one of the most exciting rewards for moving in this direction. It opens doors for art and performance in our community.

Is there compensation for joining the Board? Right now we are not in a position to offer remuneration for these roles. This is a community driven project still and we will be raising money for the costs to establish our legal status and start. No one has ever benefited financially with their involvement, but Queer Burners has paid some people for their services and work on a contract basis. 

Thank you for your time and attention! This is a call to action.

Queer Burners Mission Statement: “Building Community and Leadership together”