Gay Ghetto in Black
by Sister Dana Van Iquity, LSS (Licensed Shit Stirrer)
Editor's note: As a
seasoned Burning Man veteran, it seemed kind of ridiculous to me when suddenly,
out of nowhere two years ago, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence showed up,
ultimately creating a theme camp that they proclaimed was a "safe-ish
space for queers." Uh, I thought that all of Black Rock City was a
safe-ish space for queers. I mean, I'm queer, and part of the appeal of Burning
Man was that out here, nobody gave a toss.
I have nothing against the Sisters,
but at the time, I thought÷rather naively, I might add÷that by creating a
"queer camp," the Sisters were being rather exclusionary, creating in
effect a gay ghetto. Confessing these sinful thoughts to Sister Dana Van
Iquity, I asked him to write something on why Black Rock City needs queer
visibility and awareness. This is his reply...
Why in the
world do we need Camp Camp Village Quarter, well known as a safe-ish space for
queers, at this lovable love-fest we call Burning Man? Well, I could answer
that in two different ways. Here's the first:
need to feel safe from all those scary, hopped-up hets and flipped-out
frat-boys who find a special, perverted joy in harassing homos. Get a few beers
under their belt and these bad bozos are suddenly on the prowl for fags. And
while they may not actually physically bash their targets like they would on
their home turf, they may feel free to inflict verbal bashing, and to make a
queer feel unsafe and unwelcome in a place where he or she expected to find a
kind of nirvana or utopia. That would be one answer.
would be totally exaggerating to the extreme, because Burning Man is, for the most part, a safe space for everyone÷queers, freaks, geeks, and yes,
even Republicans. I just wrote that second paragraph with the unabashed and
purposeful intention of inciting a whole lotta incendiary comments about my
supposed blatant homo-centrism (which this nun does not have, "bi" the way).
confess÷my dear PC (that's Piss Clear, not
Politically Correct) editor Adrian asked me to write something
controversial÷and damn but I do love
some of that there controversy! So I decided with malice and forethought to
open with that particularly inflammatory paragraph÷but nevertheless, there is
some truth to it. Read on, dear reader. The plot sickens.
year at Burning Man was a time of total uncertainty. Who else would be there?
Would they accept guys running around in nun's habits? Would there be
question: all kinds of way kewl people were there. Second question: yes, for
the most part, everyone got off on the nun drag. Third question: yes, some. My
first year (one of the Dark Years, see
Adrian's Rant, this issue ÷ Ed.) my queer pals and I did encounter little fag-bashy verbal assaults and felt a bit
uncomfortable at times. Once, a beer can was hurled at me. I wouldn't mind if
it were full, but they were not
offering me a free cocktail.Ę
experienced that bit of unpleasant anti-gay stuff, and having heard from fellow
fags and dykes that they also noticed some homophobia, we decided the following
year to set up a special area, Camp Camp, where queers and their friends could
have a haven away from all that creepy crap. And as it turned out, we ran into
absolutely no homophobia at all last year, so Camp Camp simply turned into a
great spot to entertain friends, gay and non-gay, alike.
so many people requested Camp Camp again that we had to give in. And it's not a
gay ghetto at all÷there are many hetty hotties camping with us too, just
because they enjoy our twisted humor. Camp Camp is a place where family can
gather÷and "family" can be interpreted any way you want. After all,
in a city of over 10,000 occupants you can't expect to be welcome in all
Is there a
need for special camps? Well, duh! Burning
Man is all about various camps and their special themes. I have heard that
there is a Smoking Lounge Camp, where you can only be there if you are puffing
on a ciggie. There is probably a Vegan Camp, where herbivores can gather far
from the stench of carnivores. Likewise, there is a Camp Camp, where you can
feel free to be campy. It's not necessarily a bad thing to clump together
people with common interests. For instance, I will be on the lookout for
S&M Camp, if it exists. Is there a Martini Camp where gin and vermouth is
shaken, not stirred? Is there a Naked Camp where clothing is not optional? There's a Clean &
Sober Camp, where I am certainly not
welcome. But everyone is welcome at
Camp Camp, especially if they're carrying liquor! Just don't be offended by the
queen screams and nellie spells that will be occurring there with frequency.
Stop by and visit, and flame on!