This is is part of my live-learning series! I will be updating this post as I continue through my journey. I apologize for any grammatical errors or incoherent thoughts. This is a practice to help me share things that are valuable without falling apart from the pressure of perfection. 

“Comfort & Joy

Comfort & Joy is a queer community and arts collective. Our annual journey to Burning Man was our original reason for coming together and remains at the heart of who we are. However, as the years have gone by, we’ve expanded beyond Black Rock City to create and reinforce queer community in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

On the Burning Man playa we become a family. As queers, we often come from biological families where we are not accepted or where we cannot fully be our true selves. As such, our main value is that we are welcoming of people as they are. We combine that acceptance with an encouragement for people to find their best and most fabulous selves. Part of that journey comes through art which plays an outsized role in our camp. We believe that art gives us life and joy and that we all have an artist lurking about inside. Through joyful celebration, workshops, and play we provide the tools to help that inner artist come out.

At Black Rock City, we don’t simply celebrate, we also aim to provide a space that is comfortable and safe. Burning Man is an opportunity for people to step outside of daily routines, something that is both exciting and sometimes scary. By making safety a priority, we allow for vulnerability. From that vulnerability, we encourage people to explore themselves and what type of society they wish to create both at Burning Man and outside.

While that inner exploration is important, we believe that the journey is not complete without giving of ourselves to something greater. As such, part of the community we create is one of cooperation and participation. Everyone works together to help create our family, each person providing service to the best of their ability so that the community is owned by all of us. And as members give, they become further enmeshed in our mutually supportive family.

After Burning Man, we then move back out into the main world taking what happens on the playa and reinforcing community, individual growth, and expression by coming together at events and online throughout the year. Most of all, what we provide throughout the year is that mutual support. There have been many times when those in our community have experienced need, and we are there for them — holding fundraisers to help people with unexpected health care costs, or hands to help someone move out of a difficult situation. That support gives us all strength and allows us each to grow and have the strength to bring along others who are drawn to us and our welcoming space.”

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