It has been a while since I cared for this blog. This one or the layer above it which is just personal stuff. I have slowly started trying to test the layers and start looking at it again. There was a cathartic release in the past, especially for someone like me who feels more and more focused on what is good for me and what is not.
Clearly to me, starting in 2019, I started seeing my relationship with Burning Man as complicated and unhealthy. I was ready to walk away cold 100% and not look back. But I was invited to participate in something profound for the future of the community and jumped back in.
I have actively been someone who stood in front of the room, or spoke up, or volunteered, or created for the community over the years. Leadership was a natural part of who I was my whole life, but never have I been in a place with so many people willing to strip a person down who dared to do.
And the willingness of people to take my successes and try and make it their own has astonished me. People I trusted and felt I could count on just gutted me with their own ambitions they could never have carried out on their own.
And finally the lack of guts in Burning Man organizational leadership. Survival of the org was all important, but evolution was so hard. Any change in the culture was at the end of a sharp stick.
Then when I was asked to be part of Burning Man Culture Direction Setting as a project, coming in at Phase 2, I thought I was going to get a chance for magic. The leaders in the community wanted the same thing, BMorg was listening!
We finished Phase 2 in April this year and when we did I saw some great changes on paper, but I left feeling like this cooling off period to the fall and seeing these changes implemented is still in the air.
The voices of people from the Org were still the same on some levels and I finished the last meeting by leaving a little early and feeling defeated.
There are people, including the CEO, whom I have had a lot of belief in. There were some members of the founders whom I knew were never going to evolve. It was part of being gay at Burning Man and being seen the way we were that made me sad.
There is a part of Burning Man in Black Rock City like in a lot of cities where LGBTQ people accumulated. In this case it used to be called the Gayborhood. We really had to fight to get some recognition that the Gayborhood was more than a collection point, it was a zone of safety for the vulnerable.
I tried to start a new relationship with Burning Man with this program and I am feeling like it may have been a mistake. While some important changes will be coming, if implemented, it is merely a scratch on the surface. In the end there was little culture rescued. There was no real change.
Burning Man was not cancelled for 2020, but Black Rock City IRL was. The culture is fairly sound. It involves putting a lot of heads in the sand. It involves a lot of self-negotiation. Figure out what you can live with and what you can’t. And there I am.