Anyone experience homophobia on the playa?

Anyone experience homophobia on the playa?

Postby tytech » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:13 pm

I've been coming to Burning Man for 5 years and not once have I personally experienced or witness homophobia on the playa. I've always enjoyed seeing a mixed crowd of gays and straights dancing, holding hands, being together as if no difference separated them. This past year this all changed. Last week a male friend and I were not allowed to enter a theme camp on the esplanade because we were holding hands. At the time the event occurred I avoided confrontation and walked away. Since then the issue has been burning inside me so I feel I need to share it here and possible tell the theme camp about the incident.

<B>Here is what happened:</b>

I was walking with a male friend along the esplanade at night and we were holding hands. We came across a camp that had a very large curved mirror facing outward. The mirror was encircled in bright white lights and it had a large hole you could walk through. As we approached the mirror to walk through it a man dressed in plain clothes approached us and said "The Brokeback mountain dance is over there"
as he pointed to the right with his hand. I was confused at first and said "huh" and he repeated himself angrily. At this point I realized he was not going to allow us to walk through the mirror because we were gay. I turned around with my friend feeling stunned and frightened.
For the rest of the evening I kept thinking I should have said something or done something... but would he have hurt us?
Looking back I think I should have rounded up a collection of fellow burning both straight and gay and approached the man again to talk, or I should have found out which theme camp had the mirror and discussed it with people living their the following day. I didn't do either and now I regret it. I don't know if the man that approached us was part of the theme camp or not, but now I wish to at least notify the camp of the incident.

<B>Please Help</b>

I am wondering if anyone can help me find closure to this issue? Does anyone know what theme camp had the large mirror you could walk through on the esplanade? Or did anyone else run into the same man?

The man was about 5'8", caucausian, brown hair, with a big belly. He was probably late 30's or early 40's and his most distinquishing feature was a crooked nose. It looked like it may have been broken in the past.
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Postby olivia » Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:14 pm

That's incredibly lame. Sorry that happened to you.
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Postby joel the ornery » Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:38 pm

oh get the fuck over it.

you aren't a fabrege' egg... there are mean people in the world and that sucks... move onto the next task.

i hope this helps with your closure.
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the two replies to this post are what I love about bm!

Postby alt12 » Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:04 pm

I whole-heartedly agree with both replies here. A) i'm sorry that it happened to you, that sucks. Maybe you should have done a round-up. B) get the fuck over it. life sucks sometimes, even at bm and ther are shitty people at bm just like anywhere else.

Personally, I marvel at how not only gay-tolerant but gay-embracing bm is. There seems to be an appreciateive attitude like being gay is some kind of contribution b/c its different in some way. I walked around all week holding hands with my boyfriend day and night and got nothing but cute looks, sexual propositions, and sweet remarks from people. Its fucking great. It almost feels like too much, but i'm not complaining:)
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Postby s5 » Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:11 pm

I'd be curious to know the name of the camp, so they can either apologize or make it clear that said asshole isn't associated with them, or otherwise stand by their actions so the rest of us can know where the homophobic hatemongers are camped.
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Postby tytech » Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:04 pm

[quote="joel the ornery"]oh get the fuck over it.

you aren't a fabrege' egg... there are mean people in the world and that sucks... move onto the next task.

i hope this helps with your closure.[/quote]

You are certainly right and it's great that there seems to be fewer mean people at burning man. However, I am not going to walk about doing nothing in regards to this incident. What happened isn't a huge deal, but it's worth it to do more than nothing.

If this guy was a member of a theme camp on the Esplanda then I am certainly going to let them know about it. I am not crushed by the incident, I had a great time and burning man and I won't let this guy ruin it, but I am mad with myself that I didn't do anything to counter his descrimination. That's why I am going to do something now.

I will have closure when I let the theme camp know about what happened. They may very well have know idea who the ass hole is, but I will at least feel better that I did something to stand up to the discriminiation I experienced.
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Postby Isotopia » Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:50 am

However, I am not going to walk about doing nothing in regards to this incident. What happened isn't a huge deal, but it's worth it to do more than nothing.


Man, that sounds exactly like what you did.

Do what you need to do but I don't think you'll get too much resolution around it.

I'm with the majority of folks here. There are bigoted people in the world. The playa is not free of them. Sometimes people say hurtful things. Deal with it.

Personally, I'd deal with it by taking 400 gallons of diesel fuel and a box of road flares and gift them a camp fire - right in the middle of their tent.

But that's just me.
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Notify Burning Man org

Postby Zipper » Thu Sep 07, 2006 10:58 am

You MUST notify Burning Man of this incident. Burning Man does not condone any form of discrimination. Burning Man has the ability to enforce consequences to camps with unacceptable behaviors.

My hope is that the camp does not condone this behavior, but the camp needs to establish this unequivocally by the camp leader apologizing to you or Burning Man or both. If the camp equivocates on this matter, they do not deserve a location on the Esplanade and should spend some time next year chilling on D or E street.

This is NOT a case were you should “Just get over it”. You might as well go to the back of the bus or in the closet if you are not willing to take action. It is your personal responsibility to do so. You are probably not the only one who experienced this behavior and by speaking out about it you will speak for all of the other same sex couples on the playa also.
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Postby tytech » Thu Sep 07, 2006 11:25 am

Hi Keary,
I appreciate your support. I agree that there is no acceptable amount of descrimination that should be tolerated and that my inaction only allows the person to do the same thing in the future. Camps along the Esplanda should hold the ideals of burning man with great regard and that includes equal treatment.

Through great support of many of my fellow burners I have determined that the camp where the incident occured was JubJub. I have no idea whether the homophobe was associated with the camp or not. I have sent an e-mail to their leader notifying them of the incident.

Who do I contact at burning man to report the incident?
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Postby Zipper » Thu Sep 07, 2006 12:22 pm

Hi tytech

I would send a message to themecamps@burningman.com
Harley DuBois is the person who reads all the email and she is in charge of Community Services and Playa Safety. I would simply copy her with the facts only.

They will make whatever notes are appropriate in their files for when they review the camp applications for next year. My comment about punitive action should be disregarded. If Burning Man gets other comments on the same camp, then some action is more likely. For them to take punitive action based on a single commentary would not be likely. How would they know that the comment (yours) was actually true and not some baseless grudge being worked out? Nonetheless, they would want to know about it. If other comments were received then they would know something was up. If you do not report the incident and someone else does, then their report would only be a single incident also. That’s why it’s important to speak up and be counted so that comments can support each other.

Having notified Burning Man about the incident should give you SOME satisfaction, even if there is no immediate result.

With that being done you can “get over it”, lol. Thanks for taking the time to follow through. Happy recovery to you!
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Postby RINGMASTER » Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:16 pm

one of the guys i was camped by walked up to an art car as it was passing by to give them some burning man logo medallions.

before he got the word 'hello' out one of the girls on it just blurted out "youre ugly".

it certainly threw him off track, but i think he pulled through

:)
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Getting Over It

Postby PuppyBearSF » Thu Sep 07, 2006 10:17 pm

Tytech.

Whoever the guy was that acted as you described... he's an asshole. Although there are people who discriminate everywhere I think it's fair to expect less of them at BM. I understand your suprise. At this point, it will be difficult to do anything about it. However, I hope that by at least telling some of us about it you'll feel better.

As for some of the other responses to Tytech, if this is what you all meant by "get over it" then I agree. Somehow I don't think this is what you meant though. At least this not what your tone conveyed. Your messages convey a "get over it because you're whining" or a "get over it because you're feelings are not valid" vibe.

Tytech's not whining. His feelings are totally valid.

The best way to reduce discrimination and create a space that's comfortable for everyone is take these concerns seriously. Be aware. Then if we see it happen do something about it. Say something to the next asshole.
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Postby K-mom » Sat Sep 09, 2006 3:04 pm

And what about that Camp "Fuck You Bitches".
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gay

Postby hotlavalove » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:55 pm

I always thought there was a surprisingly low number of gay people at burning man. You see a few gay men here and there and almost no gay women at all. Not only that, I'd say Burning Man is like 95% white, whats up with that?
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Postby Sensei » Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:09 pm

K-mom wrote:And what about that Camp "Fuck You Bitches".
100% un-ac-ceptable ...I'm still reeling from that one.

Whoa! Be honest, you didn't spend two seconds at Camp Fuck You Bitches, did you? You saw the name and got your panties in a bunch, didn't you? Don't take this too personally, but Fuck You, Bitch.

Here's what it REALLY was about: a great sound (DANCE!) camp that was NAMED BY A WOMAN! Heck, I think almost half their camp was women. The non-pantie-bunching kind, but women nevertheless.

K-mom, I personally am HIGHLY OFFENDED at your attempt at political correctness, so there.

Smooch!

Whaddya say we all try to learn a little about what it is that we deem offensive before we go off half-cocked, if you'll pardon the expression, and somehow I think you won't. If not, please refer to the camp name for my response.
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Re: gay

Postby Eric » Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:12 pm

hotlavalove wrote:I always thought there was a surprisingly low number of gay people at burning man. You see a few gay men here and there and almost no gay women at all. Not only that, I'd say Burning Man is like 95% white, whats up with that?


Funny, from my perspective it's loaded with gays et al.

I think it all depends on where you hang out, and who with- I would guess that BRC probably has a larger percentage of gay/lesbian/bi/trans people than other cities of it's size. The nice thing is that we're such a blended part of the general population that it's not really a big deal- in a city full of freaks, we're not that unusual!
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Re: gay

Postby Sensei » Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:21 pm

Eric wrote:Funny, from my perspective it's loaded with gays et al.

I think it all depends on where you hang out, and who with- I would guess that BRC probably has a larger percentage of gay/lesbian/bi/trans people than other cities of it's size. The nice thing is that we're such a blended part of the general population that it's not really a big deal- in a city full of freaks, we're not that unusual!


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That, boys and girls, is why I, and many of my neighbors, camp where I do year after year. Out in my 'hood, aka 'the ghetto', aka out-by-walk-in, we have the most amazing diversity. I'm a straight boy yet I always camp a just a door or two down from the Our Lady of Schlongs Meat Inspectors ("Make sure your meat is fresh for the playa!"). Next to them are the young hippie couple out of Reno. Next to the hippies is that solo lesbian chick. The sixty-somethings live next to her.

We're so fuckin' young, we're ancient as hell, we're straight as the day is long and we're gay as fuck. And year after year after year, we come back and work, live and play together. We wouldn't have it any other way.
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Postby HughMungus » Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:16 pm

Odds are it wasn't his camp. Don't sweat it. The thing is, gay, straight, black, white, purple or whatever category we're in, somebody somewhere is going to not like whoever you are and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. If it was his camp, remember that people have the right to associate (or not) with whoever they choose. You can't change that, either. I don't cry if someone doesn't let me onto his art car; you shouldn't, either.
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Postby Kinetic IV » Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:25 pm

Thanks to Ivy and the Meet and Greet this year I was reminded of that fact that not everyone's going to like you. And I admit it pissed me off when she said she didn't want to talk to me after waiting for years to finally say Hi face to face. But then after I left the M&G early I met some really cool people and ended up making new friends I'm still talking to and I may be attending our regional stuff with.

My point being get over it....if I can, anyone can.
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Re: gay

Postby HughMungus » Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:26 pm

Eric wrote:
hotlavalove wrote:I always thought there was a surprisingly low number of gay people at burning man. You see a few gay men here and there and almost no gay women at all. Not only that, I'd say Burning Man is like 95% white, whats up with that?


Funny, from my perspective it's loaded with gays et al.

I think it all depends on where you hang out, and who with- I would guess that BRC probably has a larger percentage of gay/lesbian/bi/trans people than other cities of it's size. The nice thing is that we're such a blended part of the general population that it's not really a big deal- in a city full of freaks, we're not that unusual!


I always thought that the reason I don't notice "more" gay people at Burning Man is because it's one place where sexual orientation is so far down the scale of importance to Burners because there are so many much more important things to find out about people we see or meet (What have you done? Where have you been? What have you created?)
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Re: gay

Postby Eric » Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:31 pm

HughMungus wrote:I always thought that the reason I don't notice "more" gay people at Burning Man is because it's one place where sexual orientation is so far down the scale of importance to Burners because there are so many much more important things to find out about people we see or meet (What have you done? Where have you been? What have you created?)


Yes & no. I think that the mere fact that you are (or aren't) of the gay variety is much less important on the playa, and the art/ creation and the even just who you are as a person plays a much greater role in how people interact with you. However, there is still a "hook-up" factor, and, face facts, having someone nice to cuddle with is a great part of Burning Man. (though last year I had a non-sexual cuddle partner who was a straight man- love the playa!)

Pesonally I think the most important thing with anyone I meet is who they are, not what they've done. I mean, whoohoo, I'm an editor/ writer/ photographer for Piss Clear, but if that's all I have to contribute to a conversation then I'm certainly not someone I would want to hang out with.
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Postby southcoaster » Wed Sep 27, 2006 7:36 am

RINGMASTER wrote:one of the guys i was camped by walked up to an art car as it was passing by to give them some burning man logo medallions.

before he got the word 'hello' out one of the girls on it just blurted out "youre ugly".

it certainly threw him off track, but i think he pulled through

:)


i have been guilty of getting beligerant at the burn. lack of sleep, too much liquor, too many pretentious people, etc.... many things can influence the attitude in a negative way during the burn.

i remember being told this year that i had woken up memeber of my camp early one morning (i think it was the mornign of my birthday, the wednesday). I replied "but ihavent been back to camp for about 2 days"

"we know. you were on some fish-shapped art car yelling 'fuck you! burning man sucks!' about 10am"

:oops: not a good feeling to know that what probably seemed like a funny , ironic, good-humoured ribbing was probably being interpreted by many to be a genuine insult, and a disruptive one at that.

dont get me wrong i still laughed with/at them over it, and they laughed at me for somewho having 10 shots of Ketel One inside of me within an hour of wakin up..... but still

fact: there are assholes on the playa.

fact: you have to give and take cus sometimes you become one of them (unintentionally).

of i could be way off base here and the "misunderstandings" you guys have talked about could be nothing than actual hatred and bigotry (tytechs story sound much like this...) but still. assholes are on the playa. plan accordingly.
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Postby K-mom » Fri Sep 29, 2006 11:28 pm

The only thing I take personally is your take on my sarcasm!!! I got no problemo with Camp FYB - in fact I love Fucking Bitches I do it all the time!!!!!!
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Postby Sandwichman » Tue Oct 31, 2006 6:33 pm

K-mom wrote:The only thing I take personally is your take on my sarcasm!!! I got no problemo with Camp FYB - in fact I love Fucking Bitches I do it all the time!!!!!!



Any issues with Camp FYB you can discuss with me. I find it funny my camp ends up on a thread about homophobia. If our camp is homphobic please let me know how so. I am curious about this.

If you have any other issues please let me know. I am happy to discuss this in any time.

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Postby MikeVDS » Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:06 pm

Honestly I think you're out of luck at this point. There is little change of anyone doing anything since you don't even know who it was. Even if you did I doubt you could get anything to happen over this. All he had to do is deny it and unless they get many other complaints it will just be forgotten.

IMO the best thing to take from this is a lesson learned. Also know what to do next time. I would have smiled really big and just walked past. If he got in my way I would have kept walking though him. But I am also blessed by being quite tall and sturdy and so are many of the guys I hang with. If you're not blessed in the same way I'm sure you could have happily recruited some people to help in your cause (gay or straight). I would have loved to have seen or been part of a large group of guys hugging, holding hands and walking over this guy if he didn't move. With the right attitude you can pull off walking over someone and not causing a fight either. No matter how mad they get just be happy about it. Find the humor in their twisted human nature and let him walk away being the one mad and dwelling over what happened and you go on partying.
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Postby Stagger » Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:02 pm

There are gay people at Burning Man?
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:08 am

I've experienced hemophobia on the playa
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Postby unjonharley » Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:05 am

I have notice a lot of attitude..I'm kind of a happy old guy..I ride around the city playing 50's music on my trike..I notice attitude when some one wants to wave to me, that they like my music..They will hold there hand down low and wave.. Looking around as if to make sure here there campmate did'nt see then..Or step out of there camp to speak to me and looking around the same way..Or if they do come out and talk to me..There campmate comes running out and hovers over as if we doing something wrong..Seems the attitude some folks projects, mirrors back to them..Just go and have a good time and drop off your petty stuff at the gate..
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Postby helitack » Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:00 pm

I have witnessed quite a few Amathophobes, Leitourgophobes, and Nyctophobes while there
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Postby Dork » Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:44 pm

I've experienced dorkophobia on the playa. One guy rode around on my art car and kept telling passengers how dorks are people you'd never want to be around, but this guy (pointing to me) is ok. He thought he was complimenting me, but I was a bit offended. There's nothing wrong with being a dork. There's also general discrimination against people who are less expressive or socially adaptable.

Hopefully someday dork-kind can be considered worthy members of society.
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