I don’t want to bury the lede here: in a bombshell announcement, Queerborhood anchor Comfort & Joy has announced that they are taking the year off in 2024 for “Radical Self-Care.”
That has already led to a lot of displaced campers looking for new camps for 2024, so we’ve opened the Queerburners directory to submissions to find out who is coming this year.
Last year we had about 60 queer and ally camps listed, and many people told me it was a great way for burners to find their tribes in a big city with over 70,000 residents.
The directory also serves as the canonical list of LGBTQIA+ camps for the Queerburners Event Guide – a big PDF listing an insane number of great events on playa that comes out a week before the burn.
If your camp is coming back to playa in 2024 and was already in the 2023 directory, you can resubmit your information in one click (just log on with the same account you used last year). If you are a new camp in 2024 that would like to be listed, it’s easy – just click the Submit link and tada! For any help with the directory in particular, I’ve set up the email address email@example.com.
Getting ready to head to Burning Man? We’ve put together a detailed guide to all the LGBTQIA+ events on playa – at least all the ones we know about! It comes with a map of the Queerborhoods, a guide to your favorite camps, and all the events we could find. We even know where BAAAHS is going to be!
ALERT!!!! Burning Man Placement has removed the LGBTQAI option on their events submissions and replaced it with “Diversity…” which sounds great on paper, but that step backwards in the promotion of queer events is not going to deter us. In the interest of Radical Self Reliance, please edit/add #LGBT in your event writeup to guarantee (as much as we can) being placed in our own version of the What Where When for Queer Camps as a focus. AND it will help the person writing the Time to Burn Ap as well. Otherwise, we no longer have a way of noting specific LGBT events that we might not already know of… our first source for sourcing queer camps will be the Queerburners Directory at www.queerburners.org/directory
Like, c’mon… who are they talking to on decisions like this? It’s like adding Queer to the census and suddenly every hippie on the playa wanted to be queer to be a part of the story of the outsider. Flag waiving is not cutting it anymore. Actions over words. This change was a bad choice.
The people that end up really screwed are people new to the burn looking for their tribe and might feel really alone when it comes to getting a gay fix of human interaction. I’ve seen this so many times. It is not always obvious where the queers are. And, there are still a lot of clueless people who have no idea that the Queerborhood is there. Any way you look at it, Burning Man is still a very hetero streamed event and diversity is still lacking in many many ways. (Rant completed)
If you are planning an event for Burning Man that will be of interest to LGBTQIA+ burners, you’ll want to know about this. This year, Queerburners will be distributing a downloadable, printable guide to all the queer events and camps on playa.
You might have seen the version that was available in hardcopy at the Future Turtles camp bar in 2022. This year, it will be expanded and made available to everyone, with the goal of including all the scheduled LGBTQIA+ programming. There are some requirements and deadlines for all of that detailed below.
First step, if you haven’t already, please register your theme camp at the Queerburners Camp Directory on www.queerburners.org/directory ASAP. This is a great resource for people looking to connect with Queer camps and find their tribes while burning. It will lead to new and amazing campers you might not have found otherwise, because Queerburners is the #1 resource that shows up on any search when people look up Burning Man and LGBT.
What defines an LGBTQIA+ Camp or an Ally Camp?
LGBTQIA+ Camps have a majority of these marginalized groups that include, but are not limited to, the letters of this age-old acronym. They are often part of the Queerborhoods of Black Rock City. LGBTQAI Camps are camps where a majority of the camp identifies as LGBTQAI or similar marginalized people. These camps exist for safety and community representation and are all radically inclusive agents of the Burning Man Culture as a whole.
Ally Camps are camps that are community partners and might have Queer people represented however do not create events that represent queer culture as a focus of their mission. Ally camps will provide shelter and Safe Space for marginalized people in need of safety. How do I submit my events to get into the guide?
Although most events submitted there will not make it into the What Where When printed guide, due to lack of space, we will publish all LGBTQIA+ events that you submit in the Queerburners Events Guide.
How do we know what’s an LGBTQIA+ event? We will include events that are at any camp in the Queerburners Directory, but not at an “Ally” camps because those events are probably not queer focused. In addition, any event that is marked as an LGBTQIA2S event in Playa Events, no matter where it is held, will be included.
Behind the scenes, Burning Man has a cool API that we use to get a complete listing of all events, and this is where we’ll get your event information from. This is the same data that the Time to Burn app uses.
Where do you get a copy of this guide?
The Queerburners Event Guide will be distributed publicly as a PDF that you can print at your convenience. This will happen in August. Watch for our August newsletter for the announcement.
What about the fancy Queerburner Map I have been seeing around?
The Map will be included in the guide. There will be a chance for you to download the full color version and print it separately as well. How do you get listed on the map? Get in the directory!
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
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 thePeople.
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.
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.
Register on Eventbrite to get direct access through ZOOM: Eventbrite Link (Donations will help us fund this and future projects)
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.
Hey guys and gals and nonbinary pals! Joel here. Long time burner since way back in…. 2018.
This site has had an annual list of LGBTQ+ theme camps for many years. It has been a great way to connect the community: there were almost 70 camps (including Allies) on that list for Burning Man 2019.
Well, I thought it was about time to make it a little bit spiffier.
Over the last couple of months I used my time stuck at home to build queerburnersdirectory.com. It’s shiny and has pretty pictures. It allows any theme camp owner to update their own camp, provide pictures and listings, and recruit new members.
Yeah, I know, there’s no Black Rock City in 2020, but I had a ton of fun looking up last years’ camps and finding public pictures of each one. Y’all have some really cool camps there and I wish I could visit them in person. In the meantime check out queerburnersdirectory.com for a taste of last year. And if you’re a theme camp owner, please update your listing (or submit a new one for 2021, why not?) and send us all your feedback!
LGBTQ leadership from the Queerborhood met at The Box Factory on Wednesday the 28th of November. There were about 50 attendees in person and between 6 to 10 approximately on the remote connection via ZOOM. We received an outline from BMorg (Placement) as the meeting was part of a larger initiative that Placement is taking on for 2019: Black Rock City Cultural Direction Setting.
As a group, we decided to add to the outline in order to stay connected to our previous meeting with Placement (in 2016) where we addressed our concerns and needs as LGBTQ. We were facilitated by Ariel from Gender Blender and Pickle from Camp Beaverton. Out note taker was Ultra from Comfort & Joy. he list of attendees and camps represented were many.
We were charged with answering 3 questions as per the Conversation Kit supplied by BMorg. We did add one.
What are the most impactful ways a theme camp can contribute to Black Rock City? Define impactful and why that matters to you.
What are the characteristics and traits of theme camps that you would want to
Do you notice any divisions in residential Black Rock City that you are concerned about and if so what are they? How do you think about the balance between Radical Inclusion and any divisions in residential BRC?
Extra: What is the most important part of the Queer Agenda?
While the results of the meeting are still being put together the final bits will be released depending on the consensus of the participants. I want to stress that the scope of this meeting was not limited to this group. The top 3 questions were being addressed by a lot of regional communities all around the world.
We are blessed and we are working to make this magic every year. As queer people going to the playa we have a specific goal : let’s do it again next year but better. Some of us the execution of those ideas is easier than others. Find the right people around that are the right “coo” to your coo.
Queer Burners [dot] Com
Is getting a redo right now, if you have not noticed all the changes slowly taking shape on it. This should be a resource for you. This is not political, but there are some discussions and notes about some shitty things. But mostly it is about great things and doing super cool things to make Burning Man better for you, your friends and your community.
Tom and Pretzel are FAMOUS!
Both boys hail out of the Glamcocks now. Tom used to be more with BAAAHS but I think he has gone full poly-camping. Both are vivacious and spirited young men who I have seen work themselves into a stupor to make a project go well whether it was their own or helping with someone else’s success.
They got a nice pat and on the tushie from www.LAWeekly.com this week because of a piece of art they created at Burning Man. The art piece will also be seen at the upcoming San Francisco Decompression at Pier 70 where, thanks to the same two wunderkinds there will be a recreation of the Gayborhood at this usually very hetero-centric event.
Decom 2017 in San Francisco
Several camps have banded together to create a mini Gaybohood at the event in San Francsico with BAAAHS (the Big Ass Awesome Amazing Homosexual Sheep) or better Pearl (the bus that is the shaven version of the sheep, will be the center of the attraction. camps participating include but not limited to:
This has been a topic that has come up quite often in the community lately in many forms. During a meeting last year at the Red Lightening camp hosted by the Burning Man Theme Camp Organizers admins and Placement where it was a seriously addressed issue by the head of Placement/DMV “Retro” making it clear that sound in the city limits was being taken seriously.
If you know Red Lightening they are a venue with performances and education series usually positioned on the Esplanade and are a relatively quiet, if not busy, camp with a lot of foot traffic. As we held our meetup at 11pm on a Wednesday night the camp next door started playing death metal and we could barely hear each other talking. In the not so far distance we could hear the Mayan Warrior on it’s way out of the city with the trademark drums beating announcing it’s arrival.
The look on Retro’s face was awestruck but he understood campers point of view, as he and a placer who was with him at the time, explained they were working on creating new policies to address those issues.
Within our Queer Burner community there were some issues as well. The new sound policy felt like it was getting it’s legs in 2015 but already in 2016 we can feel the full force of these new policies. In 2015 BAAAHS was placed at 7 & D kitty corner from Camp Conception which both played amplified music. And across from both was Sun Guardians that holds yoga and meditation classes during the day. As mayor of SG I found both BAAAHS and Camp Conception amiable in helping me limit the amplified sound when I went to talk to them about it for our day-time classes.
Yet other neighbors complained for various reasons, but asking two sound entities placed in the city was like asking a cheetah not to run.
In another case that came up, Disco Château was not placed this year because of a sound battle they had with their neighbors AEZ (Alternative Energy Zone) and possibly others in 2015. Not being good neighbors, especially to a long established camp, earned them a serious black mark from Placement.
We can do better and are working to do better. BAAAHS did everything they could to be compliant and tried to meet the needs of officials who gave them feedback. Disco Château on the other hand had some renegades who really ended up digging a deep hole that pulled a few people down with them; forcing a change in leadership for 2016.
It is not up to us to confront people over issues that cannot be resolved with a polite neighborly discussion. I found our neighbors helpful from my point of view when I explained we needed the volume down between certain hours in the middle of the day which was pretty reasonable.
If you are not getting a response then seek out a Ranger for conflict mediation. Black Rock City Rangers are trained for that very purpose. When these occurrences happen they are being recorded in a blotter that is reported back to Placement and will / could affect your placement in the coming year.
The old fashion term “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” is still the standard. The “Fuck yer Burn” mentality of the past is slowly fading out with troll attitudes and crotchety veteran burners giving way to the flood of festival candy ravers who are flooding into the event.
If Rangers in the field cannot help, then go to the closest Ranger station and make a case for some escalated help calmly and probably with a bottle of booze. There is a strong desire to enforce sound policies this year and going forward that will support you. And if you are the one not complying, then you are inviting unwanted attention.
There was a post in the Burning Man Group that inspired today’s posting (link here) that inspored today’s post. The issues discussed with the named camps above were also issues I was mostly directly/indirectly involved with on some level. We need to have an open dialog with camps in violation of policies so they are not surprised with a denial of Placement the following year. While it may be assumed there should be no surprise, camps need feedback! While we have the benefit of the MOOP map for our cleanliness, we really need a report from Placement / Earth Guardians or others if there are things we need to improve on.
There is a blacklist that exists that camps and participants do not have access to, nor the feedback necessary to make improvements with, that is a one-sided conversation and is hallmark of a very needed transparency with a department that makes huge decisions. Camps are putting out 10 – 20 – 30 thousand dollars a year to help build the city not to mention the price of a ticket only to be blackballed anonymously by a system rigged against its self.
It is an awful thing to consider. But we have learned to take these things in stride so far and move forward with what we can in spite of the odds. Volunteers make up most of the Burning Man troops and we appreciate their amazing work every year for something so many of us really believe is as close to Utopian ideals as we can imagine.
We all can do better with some effort. Be better humans. Be better neighbors. Be better participants. Be more accessible.