Why having a BIPOC Queer Campout aligns with and enacts our Values & Guiding Principles

Queer Campout’s values are aligned with and aimed at equity: equitable inclusion and access. This is not the same as equality and does not assume that everyone is welcome in the same way. Equality acknowledges that every member of the queer community is entitled to care, dignity, and safety. Equity, on the other hand, acknowledges the diverse identities, circumstances, and challenges within the queer community, and aims to give everyone what they need so that they can participate and access in the ways that are meaningful and essential for them.

Inclusivity, therefore, does not mean including everyone in the same way; it means including people in an equitable way. Sometimes that means certain folks aren’t included to allow others to participate more fully. Protected spaces–such as the campout itself, where only queer people are welcome, or community activities/circles at campout like the transfemme support circle, where only trans feminine campers are welcome–provide a different kind of safety and community that cannot exist without that protection and exclusivity.

The background is a feded cartoon image that includes a bear and a cat standing in a forest next to a camping tent, and the tent is decorated with rainbow flags. Text at the top reads, First-ever QTBIPOC Campout: Queer & Trans Black, Indigenous, & People of Color. Text underneath reads, May 17-24, Jemez Mountains, NM."

Camp after camp, we’ve seen that Queer Campout remains a predominantly white space (as well as predominantly nondisabled, cis/transmasc/nonbinary, and other dominant groups). This has shown us that despite our intention of inclusivity, some aspects of QCO are not accessible and welcoming to all members of our community.

Since white dominance is widespread, having a distinct space for non-white folks isn’t meant to segregate but to focus on a unique experience for QTBIPOC* individuals, different from the one shared with white QT people.

Creating a campout exclusive to BIPOC campers doesn’t dismiss the needs of others in our community. It’s a both/and situation, aligning with our values by focusing on BIPOC campers while inviting all queer campers to the general campout in September. This approach may feel uncomfortable for non-BIPOC campers, but it presents an opportunity to support and celebrate the centering of historically marginalized individuals within our queer community.

We anticipate a range of feelings and reactions to arise for some folks. We encourage you to approach this with an open mind, engage in critical thinking and inquiry, and consider the following reflection questions:

  • What are my initial thoughts and reactions to this post? How did the content make me feel, and where did those feelings show up in my body?
  • Do I feel provoked? What specific aspects of the post provoked me? Are there any underlying factors or personal experiences that may have contributed to this emotional response?
  • Do I feel any anger or resentment when I see that there are spaces exclusively dedicated to the BIPOC community? Why? Am I feeling excluded or invisibilized?
  • What biases or feelings surface when I meditate on this?
  • What sources of information or perspectives could provide a more comprehensive understanding of my experience and QCO’s stance on these issues?
  • What resources do I have to help me sit with and then move through what I’m experiencing right now?

*QTBIPOC stands for “Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color.”

Recommended resources to learn more: