My journey with Burning Man over the last fifteen years has been awesome. There have been a lot of very problematic moments along the way. Often, those moments were less important than the beauty of creating community. But, these problems keep happening and get bigger and the sweetness of what I felt Burning Man stood for has really lost its shine. This is why I find myself pulling back here and there.
On so many levels, an organization like Burning Man Project and Burning Man LLC, promoting something as huge as what Burning Man had become, is walking on eggshells all the time and has to be mindful of the different tentacles and what they represent. The 10 Principles that define the spine of the community is extremely attractive to all kinds for a variety of reasons. As a Queer CIS Man myself I was attracted to the radical inclusion and community aspect most of all. But, Burning Man is forcing a new series of narratives that are simply not cool:
- Their RIDE (Radical Inclusion Diversity and Equity) has never really landed IMHO as a queer man, speaking again, about the lack of support from the org for LGBTQAI burners. Right now, when looking at the RIDE pages on BurningMan.Org, there is a hard focus on BIPOC burners and it was verbally stated in a meeting about a focus on deal and blind burners. I wrote about this on Blog.Queerburners.Org and will not labor the whole conversation here. However, it seems clear to me that Burning Man is trying to Commodify BIPOC Burners because they show up better on posters and pictures to prove Burning Man is diverse, where it is definitely not. – My Blog on Queerburners
- Having joined the Black Rock Rangers in 2022 I was in love with the idea of being a ranger. There is a lot of good to be part of that element. However, even many of those in that community are aware of toxic people acting as rangers and in the last few months I have run into a lot of seriously shitty people working as rangers. I did not ever really do a lot of rangering in the dirt. Circumstances were against me in that area, but shitty attitudes and misogyny have really put me back on the subject. I can focus on the good parts, but there is a part of my soul that reacts with inequity and being a jerk to other people. I wrote about rangering here too: MY Blog on Rangers on Queerburners
My identity has been tied up in my burner life for almost fifteen years now. It will not go away. But, any connection to the BMorg and the event in the Black Rock Desert may be past me at this point. It’s been very hard for a long time. However, this is might be a good time to change what the future looks like.