So, you are planning on go to Burning Man? And / Or ... you plan on engaging and participating in this wonderful 10 Principle Community**.
Before you buy a ticket spend some time knowing exactly what you are getting in to. In 2012 there were 3000 people who ran for the gates within the first couple days. The Black Rock Desert has dust storms, white out conditions, hot and cold temps, lots of wind and a hell of a lot of noise. That ain’t fairy dust blinding you on the playa! Your ticket, right on the back, reminds it's attendees that the desert will kill you.
These are some of the things you can do to prepare by finding your people in your local area: LGBTQIA Community Links
These regions of the city has evolved to be the epicenter of queer activity on the playa. (Read more here) It is essentially the Castro of Black Rock City, NV.
In 2019 there was a second Queerborhood formed at 4 & D with BAAAHS as the anchor camp. Before the pandemic of 2020 the leadership at BAAAHS pledged to really knock itout of the park and we look forward for the future.
Not to forget the area of the city we referred to many times as Gayburbia where you will find your Nacho Daddies and Burner Buddies at 4:30 & J since the dawn of time.
We maintain the Queerburners Directory, an organized listing of LGBTQIA+ and ally camps where you can look up and start exploring camps and find one that might be a good fit for you. Joining a camp is not needed to have an experience, but it is a good way to start if you are looking to be around others with a little more experience. There are different kinds of camps you can choose from:
You will be hard to find any camp that is 100% of any single identity let alone one based on sexual orientation. Even Queer identified camps have members who are heterosexual or other sexual orientations or identities. We also have a wide variety of people who self identify as various genders. As part of the community it is radical inclusion that makes your time at Burning Man the spice of life.
Camping by category: Queer Camps | Gay | Lesbian | x-Gender | Spiritual | Sex Positive | Peaceful Quiet | Thump-Thump
Start with participating with the camps and their community before jumping right into asking them to be a part of their community. Find out if it is right for you or you for them. The truth is you might or might not be a good fit on either side.
You can make your own camp site anywhere in the city that is not already reserved by Burning Man Placement; which is clearly defined in a map provided in your guide that you get from the Greeter Station on the way in. Taking your own path is viable, but it all depends on what you want to give or take away from the experience. Civic Responsibility and Community are 2 major parts of Burning Man, but the journey unfolds as you move ahead.
As noted above anyone would be hard-pressed to say a camp is 100% of anything. All camps are fairly integrated on some level when it comes to sexual orientation or identity. You have heard “variety is the spice of life”? Radical inclusion is is spicy and with all the other aspects of the 10 Principles they combine for a full micro community; camp, village, or city.
“Queer Camps” are usually voluntarily self identified as such, but the previous paragraph still applies, some are not comfortable defining themselves as Queer Camps for a variety of reasons. BY some account the association is strictly semantics and philosophy when ultimately we are working on a common cause. This is because we are (ideally) here to promote the 10 Principles and apply it evenly.
The 7:30 Sector are full of Queer and Near-Queer camps although we generally know that not all camp-mates are so easily defined. And as of 2019 the 4:30 sector, too. Queer Burners, The Gayborhood and other LGBTQIA burners all have blurry lines.
Here are lists from previous years:
The beauty of Burning Man is you can start your journey any way you want but you can’t control the journey itself. Either way you begin it will not match the end… do not try and control it. Let nature take its course.
There has been a long road to being seen by Burning Man in some ways. The Queerborhood (formerly by several names, some less flattering) has taken on a lot of forms and incarnations. As of 2019 it grew more sister sectors as it was given a chance to split off into another part of the city. It was very exciting, but it was also scary before we knew what it would be like. Thankfully the BAAAHS crew and allies rallied and made lemonade out of lemons.
The Good News is this! In 2016 we engaged BMorg more and they have, on some level, been listening. We had a meeting with data we brought to the table and a group of us collected to demonstrate how important queer spaces are. Then with the Cultural Direction Setting project with BMorg (2018 – 2020) we saw a growing understanding of queer voices on playa.
We have an uncertain future with Burning Man right now that will probably even out. With the cancellation of the physical event for 2020 and 2021 there is a financial question about the future of Burning Man as an event altogether. The community will still thrive or look the next new thing. The ideology is sound even if some of the voices in it are flawed.
As the future unfolds it is up to us as a community to hold on to the most important values and stand strong in the face of adversity. Covid really took the wind out of our sails for now, but our community is inspired and electricifed by our potential through art, performance, building and more. Community thrives and flourishes while we remember the hard road that got us to the other side. We honor those who did not make it and their memory. We lift those around us always striving to do better.
Be sure to stay tuned as Queerburners is working on a few events through our events page for the coming seasons.
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on their inner resources.
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.