Photo by David Newkirk. Men wearing tutus at Burning Man
In the documentary, Spark: A Burning Man Story, Play)A(Skool theme camp founder Jon La Grace says he came out after going to Burning Man. I wonder how many others share this story?
For the LGBTQ community, particularly those who live in more conservative places, Burning Man’s open, welcoming environment offers a sense of real freedom that you don’t experience on an average Monday morning on Main Street in your home town. In Black Rock City, you can wear whatever you want, talk however you want, and fall in love with whomever you want.
Photo by Ana Grillo,
Women hugging at Burning Man’s Camp Beaverton
Straight or gay, burners make the most of the self-expression and radical inclusion Burning Man principles. That’s why you see so many cross-dressing straight males on the playa. When men know they’ll be accepted no matter what they wear, it’s amazing to see how many of them choose pink tutus.
Plus, there are plenty of LGBTQ theme camps and art cars. Each camp is different, but you can expect them to provide some combination of imagination, fantasy, education, dancing, drinks, fun and space to meet people.
Photo by Palmer Stevens. Gay pride at Burning Man 2012
The Gayborhood: Gay or Queer-Friendly Burning Man Camps
- AstroPups: For 12 years, the Astropups have been known for providing a cool (and
furry)oasis on the playa where countless queer (and just queer-friendly) Burners have crossed paths and met new friends. The Astropups camp has always been hub of daytime and nighttime activity, whether it’s one of our many queer proms, scavenger hunts, wrestling tournaments, cocktail mixers, tantric workshops, project runway-type competitions or crafternoons.
- Camp Beaverton: Burning Man camp for wayward girls. Camp Beaverton is an intentional, experimental, and experiential Burning Man community theme camp. Our goal is to provide a safe space for queer women on and off-Playa. We encourage education, participation, inquiry, conversation, and self-reflection on what it means to be “a Beaver”. We extend our goals to the greater Black Rock community by hosting workshops and social events.
- Celestial Bodies: A fun-loving, straight-friendly theme camp in the Gayborhood. They serve up a delicious and refreshingly-iced Playa Cosmo every day in their comfy lounge. With an average of 50 camp members, Celestial Bodies is a radically inclusive camp with campers of all ages, genders and from diverse backgrounds.
- Comfort & Joy: Comfort & Joy is a “radical faerie” collective dedicated to promoting queer culture, expression, self-actualization and community by acting as a mutual-support society for our members, producing art installations & organizing special events. They are active year-round in the San Francisco Bay Area, frequently remembered for their “theme camp village” at Burning Man, and active supporters of the thriving national Radical Faerie spiritual network. Various Comfort & Joy group projects benefit faerie sanctuaries & publications in Tennessee, Oregon, Vermont and New Mexico.
- Down Low Club: Provides the adult 18+ Gay, Bi & Curious men of the Playa a discreet, enclosed, air-cooled tent that’s away-from-home, away-from-prying-eyes.
- GlamCocks: GlamCocks builds towers, throws parties, puts on shows, and invites you to be part of their fabulous, unique, talented, exciting, creative, and amazing gay family!
- Pink Mammoth: Pink Mammoth is a San Francisco-based music/arts collective dedicated to providing unforgettable parties with House music and a deep vibe.
Love, by Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg, Photo: Getty Images
All that and there’ s a Black Rock City Gay Pride Parade, too.
While we’re talking about sex and theme camps at Burning Man, everyone – gay and straight – should know about Black Rock City’s Bureau of Erotic Discourse (BED). BED is a team of volunteers who gather each year at Burning Man to provide information and education regarding sexual assault on the playa. They hold workshops, and they challenge every theme camp on the playa to embrace sexual assault education. Their purpose is to promote a sex positive environment where responsibility, safety, consent and communication are priorities. BED is always looking for volunteers if you’re interested in contributing to the Burning Man community in this way.
What are your stories from the Gayborhood? Please share them with us in the comments section below!
Kimbriel Dean on
Thursday, September 12th, 2013 with
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