Introducing Camp Autostraddle 8.0

After four years and seven A-Camps in the San Bernardino Mountains, we have decided to say goodbye to Alpine Meadows’ dusty rocky ankle-twisting pathways, scenic/nauseating altitude, remote location and frozen bread in favor of a bigger, brighter tomorrow.

Last fall, we hosted a “trial run” at a new site in Wisconsin and it was as spectacular as we’d hoped. In California, our site had only four indoor spaces for hosting activities — in Wisconsin, we have 20, including a small teaching kitchen, a dance studio, an auditorium and an arts & crafts building. There’s room for more campers. We have a lakefront with a beach and we have sports fields and we have a pool. We have everything we need to take camp to the next level, and are so happy to announce that we’re moving the whole damn show to the heartland in May for what will be the largest A-Camp of all time!


What Is A-Camp?

A-Camp, an idea I had in the middle of the night about six years ago, is a manifestation of this website in three entire dimensions, mixed with a dash of old-fashioned summer camp goodness and an infusion of conference-style programming. A-Camp is workshops, panels, classes, meet-ups, discussion groups, crafts, activities and performances designed to inspire, educate, entertain, build community, and make you laugh. It’s a chance to support Autostraddle, be kids again, and make new friends forever — and it’s been wildly successful, with the waitlists to prove it. We’ve held spectacular A-Camps in April 2012September 2012May 2013October 2013May 2014June 2015June 2016 and October 2016. A-Camp has created much-needed community and safe space for LGBTQ women, nonbinary and trans folks from all over the world. It is a queermonormative refuge from the burning hellfire of the rest of the world. This session will undoubtedly have a special impact and a stronger focus on activism, resistance and community care due to the current political climate.


When

5:30 PM May 18th – 11:00 AM May 23rd

On May 18th, we’ll be running shuttles from Chicago O’Hare to the campsite from 1:30pm to 3pm and from the Milwaukee airport to the campsite at 4pm. Camp officially begins at 5:30 PM.


Where

Mukwonago, Wisconsin

The site is 30 minutes from Milwaukee, just over an hour from Madison, 1.5 hours from Chicago, 4 hours from Indianapolis and 5 hours from Ann Arbor, Minneapolis or Des Moines. This site is full of relevant features:

350 wooded acres * Beach * Ropes Course * Indoor & Outdoor Climbing Wall * Canoeing * Kayaking * Campfire Rings * Yurt * Lighted Basketball Courts * Softball Diamond * Indoor & Outdoor Amphitheaters * Archery * Recording Studio * Dance Studio * Arts & Crafts Building * Teaching Kitchen * Ultimate Frisbee Field * Organic Farm * Secluded Witchy Bonfire Situation * Sand Volleyball * Tennis Courts * Hiking Trails * AND SO MUCH MORE!


Who?

A-Camp 618

You weirdos! At past A-Camps, half our campers have been over 25 and half under 25, and they’ve come from all over the world. Usually 60% of our campers are new and 40% are returning, but we’re expecting more new campers than usual to join us at our new location.

Also: Us! We are headed up by A-Camp Directors Marni Kellison & Kristin Russo, and in order to give you the broadest range of programming possible, we’ve got a staff-to-camper ratio of about 1:6, with staff members drawn from Autostraddle the website.

In order to best serve the needs of our diverse community, we also have four leadership positions addressing specific camper populations: two QTPOC Speakeasy Leaders, one Queen Trans, and one Accessibility Maven. (Read more about them on our website.)


How Much?

Only $715 Total or $143/night!

  • 3 meals/day and snacks (with options for vegans, vegetarians, gluten-frees, and so forth)
  • 5 nights accommodation in cabins sleeping 10-18 people
  • 100+ programming options: crafts, panels, workshops & adventures
  • A dedicated staff with a staff to camper ratio of 1:6
  • 5 Nights of Stellar Entertainment
  • Kickass swag bag with your A-Camp tee and other cool goodies from indie and queer businesses.

If you’re not bringing your own sheets/blanket/sleeping bag, there’s an option to rent linens from the site for $16/each.

It’s costing us way more to do this camp than previous camps — travel expenses are higher for our West Coast staff and talent and the site itself is about twice as much per night as Alpine. If we adjusted the cost proportionately, this camp would cost $975 per person. But we’re not doing that, ’cause we want to make this accessible to as many campers as possible (NOW MORE THAN EVER!), even if it cuts into the profit we need so desperately to keep this website afloat. If you’re able to pay a little more, then please donate to our campership fund, and if you’d like to read more about the economics of A-Camp, you can do so here.


Accommodations

We have two options for accommodations at our new site:

Bunk Bed Cabins: The standard cabins sleeping 12-18 people each, with private bathrooms and showers inside each cabin.

The Villa: A great option for anybody seeking a less rustic and more private experience or consistent access to a kitchen, The Villa complex contains 9 bedrooms with suite bathrooms (two bedrooms share one bathroom) and is available for an up-charge. The Villa includes a full kitchen and dining area, laundry, a lounge area with couches and television, and an outdoor patio. You can select a shared room (with 1-3 other roommates) or a private room when registering. At previous camps, VIP lodging like The Villa has been most popular with campers who really value a good night’s sleep and the relative quiet necessary to do so, so keep that in mind when signing up.


Daytime Programming

A-Camp 612

You’ll have full access to a variety of activitiesworkshopspanelssports, discussion groups, classes and arts & crafts. There are also opportunities for closed spaces and bonding for campers who are QTPOC, trans women and/or bisexual/non-monosexual.

Activities offered at previous A-Camps include…

Arts & Crafts: Dapper Collar Pins * Kinky Cross-Stitch * Coptic Bookbinding * Chingona Chats and Crafts: Sacred Queer Heart Shrines * Look After Yourself: Self-Portraits * Nerdcraft * Make A Thing: Merit Badges * Finger Knittin’ Good * Pit Stop: DIY Deodorant

Workshops: Learn to Magish * Shibari Rope Bondage * Erotica Writing * We’ve Got Your Back: Community Care * YO! A-Camp Raps! * Slam Poetry * Queer Astrology 101 * Lez Talk About Sex(ual Health) * Swagger 101 * String Cheese & Boxed Wine Tasting * Casual Sext * Feminist Improv Troupe * Gay Your Makeup

Sports, Games, Etc: A-Campella * Basketball Wives * Self Defense 101 * Cheer Camp * Ballet for Basic Bitches * Rock Yoga * Beyonce’s Dance Grooves * Canoeing * Pop Science Trivia * Mindfulness & Meditation * Haus of Vogue * Hogwarts Trivia

Discussion Groups, Panels & Presentations: Ally Ally Oxen Free: Making Queer Spaces Better for Trans Women * Changing the Narrative: The Importance of QTPOC Fiction * Gaming, Identity and Community * Queer People of Color Politicking & Zine-Making * Mixed-Race/Biracial/Multi-racial Discussion Group * Profesh Pantsuit Power Hour * Mommy Queerest: Queer Parenting Panel * Tardy for the Party: A Coming Out Later In Life Discussion Group * Mountaintop Bisexual Discussion Group and Hummus Appreciation Society * Real Talk: Your Relationship Doesn’t Have To Suck


Nighttime Entertainment

A-Camp 34

Autostraddle After Dark is where our Special Guests shine most brightly, and where you get a chance to dance your ass of in a ridiculous costume. Past A-Camp After Dark activities have included stand-up comedy from Cameron Esposito, Deanne Smith, Brittani Nichols, El Sanchez and Rhea Butcher; sexy game shows hosted by Julie Goldman and Brandy Howard; the legendary Staff Reading; Talent Shows; Variety Nights hosted by Hannah Hart and Jasika Nicole and concerts featuring musicians including Julia Nunes, Jenny Owen Youngs, Mal Blum, Bell’s Roar, Haviland Stillwell and Somer Bingham.

The last night always brings a kickass themed dance party and a performance from the legendary A-Camp Family Band. 


Special Guests 

Gaby Dunn, Writer / Actress / Comedian 

Based in Los Angeles, Gaby Dunn is the co-creator of the wildly successful YouTube show Just Between Us, and the host of Bad With Money, named one of The New York Times’ “Best New Podcasts of 2016.” Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, New York Magazine, The Boston Globe, Playboy, Refinery 29, Women’s Health Magazine, Vulture, Thought Catalog and on NPR’s On The Media, Sourcefed, Nickelodeon, Buzzfeed Video, Fusion, Mashable, Glamour, xoJane, Salon, Slate, ROOKIE, Jezebel and ABC’s Nightline. This year, she co-created and starred in a pilot for MTV and has developed original half-hour pilots for both FX and YouTube Red. This September will see the release of her YA Novel I Hate Everyone But You, co-written with Allison Raskin and published by St. Martin’s Press.

Shea Diamond, Musician 

ShaGasyia “Shea” Diamond is a transgender singer/songwriter born in Little Rock, Arkansas, who moved to Memphis and then to Flint and now lives in New York. After ten years in a men’s prison for a crime she committed to finance her transition, she moved to New York and began writing “I Am Her,” a statement to a world that said she shouldn’t exist. In 2016, her video for “I Am Her” was featured in Time, Out, and Paper.

Mara Wilson, Author/Actress

Mara Wilson is a recovering child actor perhaps best known for playing the title role in the movie Matilda. She now works as a writer, voice-over actor, and storyteller. Her voice can be heard on BoJack Horseman and Welcome to Night Vale, and her writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, McSweeney’s, The Toast, and many other places. She is the creator and host of the storytelling show What Are You Afraid Of?, and in 2016, her first book, Where Am I Now? was published by Penguin Books.

Be Steadwell, Musician

Be Steadwell is a singer songwriter from Washington DC. With roots in jazz, acapella and folk-Be composes a soulful blend of genres into what she calls queer pop. In her live performances, she utilizes loop pedal vocal layering and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage. Be’s self-produced albums feature her earnest lyricism, proud LGBTQ content, unapologetic silliness, and the art of the simple love song. As she pursued her career in music, she began a career in film. Shooting and editing her own music videos, Be combined her love of music with narrative film. In 2014, Be completed an MFA in film from Howard University.

Brittani Nichols, Actress / Comedian

Brittani Nichols is the creator and star of the comedy pilot Words With Girls, produced as part of Issa Rae’s Color Creative TV with a premiere at HBO/BET’s Urbanworld Film Festival in 2014 as well as a writer and star of Suicide Kale, an independent film currently racking up awards on the film festival circuit. Brittani has appeared in the series You Do You, was a recurring character in Season Two of Transparent, and hosts two podcasts, Brand New and Hamilton the Podcast.

Kim Milan, Educator / Writer / Artist

We’re very excited to have Kim Milan visiting A-Camp in order to lead/facilitate two racial justice workshops.

A daughter of the diaspora, Afro Caribbean, Venezuelan Arawak, Indian and Scottish, hailing from Trinidad and living between Toronto & New York. Kim Katrin Milan is an award winning internationally acclaimed educator, writer & artist. She is recognized stateside as one of The Root’s’ Young Feminists to Watch,’ celebrated in Canada as 2016’s National Youth Role Model and nationally as one of the 50 Most Loved Gay Canadians. Kim is the co-founder and Executive Director of The People Project; an initiative to bring forth local and international community development for queer and trans folks of color and their allies, through alternative education, art­-activism, and collaboration. She is also one of the owners of the Glad Day Book Shop, the oldest LGBT bookstore in the world. As an educator, Kim travels around the world talking to people about justice, equity, and human rights. A public researcher, consultant and human rights educator, she has shared hundreds of unique resources and presentations around intersectional issues including race, ability & gender. As a social entrepreneur, she speaks to the opportunities and challenges for women in business and leadership roles. With great openness, she welcomes difficult conversations hosting community dialogues and sharing practical strategies around ‘Sexuality & Consent’, ‘Queer & Trans Allyship’ and ‘Anti­Racism & Equity’.


Camperships & Tuition Discounts

+ Your generosity has sent over 40 deserving humans to A-Camp over the past five years and you’ll have the chance to make dreams come true again this year by donating to the campership fund! We take donations of all sizes and a full campership is $715 (or $755 with shuttles, $771 with linens & shuttles), and we’ll have a post up soon sharing the stories from some of last camp’s campership recipients.

+ You can apply for camperships here. All campership applications must be in by February 20th, but we’ll be assessing applications on a rolling basis up until the 20th, so get yours in as soon as possible and you may hear back from us about an opportunity sooner!

+ We also recognize that as A-Camp becomes more expensive it becomes harder to maintain the diversity we require for a truly successful A-Camp. We encourage campership applicants who are POC and/or trans women, and will have some offers for those groups specifically.

+ Our most recent call for submissions, specifically for personal essays by Black queer women, pays $100 cash per essay OR $200 towards A-Camp tuition, so if that’s you, check it out!

+ If you cannot attend camp without a full Campership, do not register for camp! We reserve spaces for Campershippers so you don’t need to snag one in case you become a Campershipper — that’s been taken care of. If you sign up and then end up getting a full campership, you will not be refunded the $75 registration fee.

If you have a business who’d like to sponsor a campership, get in touch with sarah [at] autostraddle.com. Previous sponsors have included Sharpe SuitingKipper ClothiersScout’s HonorKreuzbach10OK Cupid and Hannah Hart.


Okay, I’m in. What now?

If you wanna get on the saddle and trot on over to A-Camp with us this fall, just head over to the registration form where, for the low low price of a $75 non-refundable non-transferable deposit, you can snag your spot. Please read the instructions at the top of the interface page if anything seems remotely complicated. You’ll also have to add tuition to your cart during the registration process, but you’re not required to pay in full until April 1st. You can make partial payments up until that point.

For more information about airport shuttles, refund policies and other money-or-travel related questions, please read our FAQ here.

If you need to cancel, you can just log back in to the registration interface and cancel! QUESTIONS ABOUT REGISTRATION OR TRAVEL GO TO cool@autostraddle.com. (“COOL” stands for “Coordinator of Logistics”)


For More Information

On our A-Camp website, you’ll find our FAQ, the staff we’ve got on board so far and a link to register the hell out of your unit. For more information about what goes on at A-Camp, you can check out our recaps from past camps and testimonies from campers about the joy of the experience. (We had to stop doing Recamps in 2016 because of the time it took, but previous camps should still give you a good idea!) Ultimately, A-Camp is whatever you make of it: every camper writes their own story. Come with your heart wide open and do whatever you want.

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What are you waiting for?

Register Now!


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Riese is the 36-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2553 articles for us.

175 Comments

  1. I had a dream that A-Camp did a speed dating thing and I met a cute girl with an undercut and we snuggled in a hammock and if anyone wants to make that dream come true, I’m a really great big spoon???

  2. I’m in!!!!!Also I’m still in amazement that camp is now an hour away from my house instead of halfway across the country! ❤️

    Whoever ends up in my cabin, my car will be loaded with all the party supplies!

  3. I’ve been waiting for this to happen all day, and I just registered for camp for the FIRST TIME and I’m so excited because it’s the one bright spot of good in an otherwise dark and foreboding hellscape.

  4. I JUST REGISTERED AHHHH.

    This will be my first camp and I’m a little heartbroken that I missed it when it was in LA (esp because that area is very much like a summer camp I went to for many years when I was younger and it gives me so many emotions just seeing pictures of it, also because it is like an hour away from my home) BUT also very excited and very very scared.

    Also, anyone have any tips on how to explain to people/family you aren’t out to why you are going to be gone to Wisconsin for a week in May? Asking for a friend…

      • This is beside the main point of the article, but comments are closed on the linked article and I still want to respond to this:

        “4. Going rock climbing

        And are there places to do this without your parent’s permission or a website to verify and why don’t we just come up with a lie for you next time?”

        The answer is yes. If you are over 18 you can go rock climbing without your parent’s permission. There are many places to go rock climbing that don’t have a website and even those that do won’t prove whether you’re at the site or not. If you’re someone who rock climbs outside, especially if you have your own gear, you can pretty much just head out to a crag and set up and start climbing. (Although I don’t recommend it unless you know what you are doing or are with people who definitely know what they’re doing.)

        So if you are someone who rock climbs or are someone who wants to keep up a charade of rock climbing, this is a very good and plausible excuse! JUST SAYING.

    • It’s definitely tricky and kind of depends on who you’re telling and your relationship with them. If your friend is close enough to their family that they won’t ask many questions, they might just be able to talk around/avoid the entire discussion similarly to what I did when I went to the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference last year. PTHC coincided with my birthday, my family wanted to go out to dinner, and I was not out as trans to them in the slightest. I think I “Had plans with friends. All weekend.” Or something like that. It was totally a lie at the time, but totally a truth when I got home. I also did make sure to schedule immediately the dinner for like THE next weekend to head off questions.

      Obviously, that wouldn’t work as well if your friend lives with their parents, but I think the general mantra of the less info the better still holds true.

      For something like coworkers, if your friend requests of far enough in advance, they might be able to just skip giving a reason. This is my tactic, and it’s basically the same idea; tell people only the minimum they need to know.

      I hope there’s something useful there… Anyway, see you, and hopefully your friend, at camp!

    • I told my parents I was having a reunion trip with my college friends/dormmates. That turned out to be a bit tricky because then my parents were like “Oh, how is Katie? What is she doing now?” and I had to stalk them on LinkedIn to find out since I am not actually still in touch with my college dormmates. So then the next year I just didn’t tell them I was traveling anywhere. There was no way they could have known unless they accidentally emailed me at my work email and got my vacation message, which fortunately didn’t happen.

    • My partner, our friend, and I once took a long weekend trip to Milwaukee for the express purpose of visiting an amazing sex shop (The Tool Shed). Whenever folks asked, I just said that we wanted to get away, but Milwaukee wasn’t tooooo terribly far (we live in Michigan) and is also way cheaper to visit than a lot of cities.

    • I didn’t really tell anyone. I told my room mates that I would be gone that weekend, didn’t specify where. I told my parents (provinces away but who none-the-less were my emergency contacts) that I would be in the States over that weekend.

      Then I bought my Mother a Christmas gift of Canadian Club, because it is her favourite and if I can’t use Duty Free to buy huge bottles of alcohol, then what is even the point? I did not explain to the rest of the family why I was ever in a duty free shop.

      I also used the ‘camp for adults’ thing. “Where did you find it?” “Oh, online. There are a lot of them, now! It just seemed fun.”

      I really want to go, but it’s pretty expensive and what with the exchange rate… ;__; I’ll think about it. I’d love to see the people I met last camp again! (Also be there during the summer.)

  5. I registered myself for a private room in the villa because my wife and I wanted to go. I couldn’t see how to add her to my reservation so I completed it and then went in to start hers. When registering her, it said that there’s a waitlist. What do we do? We aren’t going to attend without each other.

  6. My sad queer heart wants me to be irresponsible and go to A Camp, but my responsible, soon to be college grad, brain (and wallet) knows that I shouldn’t this year. Have all the great queer fun y’all!! <3 Everyone deserves the wonderfulness of camp! esp right now!

  7. Hi! So I am a watergirl and basically the most disappointing thing about the old camp site was that there weren’t many opportunities to swim outside of specific activities. (I love one million things about camp! I swear I’m not nitpicking). So I was just wondering, like, is the lake generally open for business? Or are we restricted to lifeguard hours or whatever?

    Thanks!!

    • Hi hello hello! Yes there is a pool and a lake, and we are still working on how it will all be structured, but the GOAL is to have way more open time for swimming stuff, and to utilize the site/nature in general because it is SO beautiful and sometimes it would be great to be able to sit in nature without feeling you have to also miss out on programming! ALL THAT SAID, we see you, and standby for more 😉

  8. I just want to thank my decision to get day drunk today for the slight encouragement it gave me for registering. I guess I’ll have to book a flight over from the UK and possibly quit my job but it’ll be a good time.

    Also, sorry for not including a proper ‘describe yourself’ thingy. I panicked about time and thought I’d be able to finish it later. See you in May!

  9. Oh wow after like 4 years of sadly watching A-Camp recaps I think I might be able to come to this one?!! And its in the midwest?!! I mean I’m not nearly cool enough to hang out with all of you but this is exciting!

  10. So, let’s say that I know myself well enough to know that I’ll have a much better time if I sleep in a private room. Since they’re all waitlisted…if one doesn’t open up, am I out $75? Or am I automatically just bumped over to a bunk bed scenario? Thanks for clarifying!

  11. Genuinely surprised by how much I’m now looking forward to A-Camp, now that I’ve registered for the first time, and just how much I needed to know that there would be at least one more space I can reasonably trust to be supportive. Now I just need to take care of the details, and thrive as best I can until then.

  12. I got to the reg page within a couple of hours of opening, but was shocked to find that all the private (and even semi-private!) rooms were gone. I’ve been an Autostraddle reader for years, and this was going to be my first A-Camp, but I’m an old lesbian (closer to 40 than 30) and an uncool one (I know Riese et al. said upthread that this is not a cool group of people, but I know queer hipster territory when I see it).

    What are the odds of getting off the waitlist for a private room? Alternatively, are there hotels within driving distance?

    • Hello! Old uncool lesbian 4 camp veteran here. I’m am 37 and camp only turns queer hipster territory if you want it to. Same goes for drunken party, hook-up central, crafts orgy, etc etc
      I know it sounds like a cliche sales pitch but it is true, camp really is what you make of it.

        • “Cabin for the Aged,” I love it.

          I went twice to camp, in my early 40s (we had folks from about 33-early 60s in our cabins), stayed in the cabin and made the best of friends — in fact, I barely left the cabin my second time I loved ’em so much. And my jet-lagged, middle-aged ass was in bed by 9pm most nights! DO IT!

    • I’m 41 (42 by then) and I totally agree with the posters above! I’m definitely no hipster – more fashion-challenged than anything else. I look forward to meeting you in the Cabin for the Aged if that’s where you end up.

    • hi!

      1. staying at a hotel nearby isn’t an option — you’ve gotta be onsite the whole time with all the other campers! (there’s actually apartment-style lodging onsite i hadn’t even considered opening up for campers b/c it’s expensive and kinda isolated and people tend to prefer the inherent friend-making that happens when you live in a room with other campers, but i’m gonna get more info about that today)

      2. i’m 35! laneia will be 36! kristin is 36! marni is 33! heather is 37! cee is 38! there are at least 5-6 other staff members over 35.

      3. we always have one cabin that is almost entirely campers over 40+ — at spring camp in 2016, our oldest camper was 72!

  13. okay, trying this again! i registered in 2015 but got nervous and backed out. going with this will be my year. i could already use some reprieve from every day life this year, so i can only imagine how i’ll feel by the time may rolls around. now i just gotta figure out how to describe myself in 400 words or fewer.

  14. It’s 2am and I made the impulsive decision to register for this camp but I am honestly so excited, also nervous be this will be my first time going! Now I don’t just get to see the pics, I can and will take some of my own! Going out of my comfort zone 😊

  15. Alas, my wallet and my psyche can only take one American trip in this political climate, and it’s the one I’m going on in two weeks. But you’re right about lifelong friendships – I met one such person at A-Camp 3.0. Love you Maggie <3

  16. The last few days have been so gosh-darn dreary but we announce A-Camp and suddenly there is golden sunlight flooding through my windows and I’m like oh shit camp is SO SOON AND THIS LIGHT FEELS LIKE IT’S IN MY HEART NOW.

    It’s going to be warm and wonderful and I can’t wait to skip all over the campgrounds with you lovely humans! I’M SO EXCITED FOR CAAAAAAAAAMP!

  17. I love reading all the comments from all the people nervously signing up for their first camp. That was me like 4 years ago and I had no idea what I was doing. But you’re gonna love it, I PROMISE!

  18. I have been trying to update my bio and everything, but the website has been glitching out. I can’t make additional payments or anything either, because it says a page is missing information, even though it’s not :/

    I was hoping to update my bio so you could see a little more than the “I’m a lesbian” I threw in there in the rush to secure my spot.

  19. So, question that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else on Autostraddle or the A-Camp FAQ page but may have missed. If you are a trans woman or non-binary, do you *also* have to be not-straight to attend camp? I’m unclear on whether this falls into the category of “Yes, you are welcome here into this affirming place and we will celebrate your gender identity with you, but please understand that your sexuality will not be prioritized” or “We are your allies in the world but A-camp is intended for people with identities other than yours”. Similarly, do you have to *know* that you are queer or can you be questioning your sexuality? Genuinely wondering.

    • This is a great question, and I’m curious to see what the organizers have to say.

      I always imagined that A-Camp was intended primarily as a community for women (whether cis or trans) who were not-straight.

      However, since the A-Camp FAQ explains that camp is now welcoming to non-binary people and trans men, and since those thorough and thoughtful answers don’t mention anything about those folks needing to also have a not-straight sexual orientation in order to attend, I am not sure how we could then logically ask straight trans women not to attend.

      All of that feels fine to me. I respect the fact that sexual orientation and gender identity are completely separate concepts. However, in light of the historical and cultural connections between lesbian/gay/bisexual/not-straight and transgender communities, I also am open to drawing our lines of inclusion as generously as we can.

      What stumps me, as I write this all out, is: Trans women are women, and trans men are men; it is offensive to section these folks off as “different kinds” of women or men. So, if straight men and straight women are welcome to attend A-Camp, then wouldn’t ALL straight men and straight women, including cis ones, be welcome to attend?

      In other words, how do we not just turn into a community for anyone who likes our vibe and wants to hang out with us? Not that that isn’t great – I’m sure we could all use more people in our lives who like our vibe and want to hang out with us! – but how do we hold on to girl-on-girl culture?

      • They actually give an answer this question in the FAQ! It says:

        “I’M A TRANS MAN, CAN I COME?

        Again, this was initially a “no.” But now it is a “yes.” Centering women’s experiences and empowering trans women was a priority from the start — and remains so — but then we shed the “women’s space” to be inclusive of non-binary folks. And as time went on, we had campers (and staff!) who’d come to camp when they presented as female who had since come out as trans men, and it seemed mean to tell those valued members of our community “now that you’re happy and living your truth, you’re not allowed to see your family again!” Most trans men who attend A-Camp fall into that group or come with (or were referred by) queer female friend(s), but nowadays some do come on their own. We understand that the choice to be inclusive of trans men is a controversial one, but ultimately drawing that line felt impossible and also sad. We understand and recognize the political implications and historical complications of trans men often being more welcomed into women’s spaces than trans women. A-Camp has always been and will always be a place where trans women are welcomed and affirmed as the women they are, but as the world has grown, A-Camp has also grown into a space where some trans men may feel welcome as well. We don’t expect all trans men to feel comfortable or affirmed in an environment that has evolved from a female-centric intent and prioritizes the needs of trans women, but many do. It’s up to you if you feel like it’s a good or comfortable place for you to be!”

        • Hi, Joanna! Yes, you’re absolutely right, they did say that people who identify as non-binary or trans are welcome to attend!

          What I think Mattie is asking about, though (and, Mattie, please correct me if I’m wrong), is whether camp is intended for people whose sexual/romantic orientation includes women.

          In other words, if someone is:

          -a gay man (trans or cis),
          -a straight woman (trans or cis), or
          -a non-binary person who is not sexually/romantically oriented toward women

          would camp be the right place for them?

          If that’s the question being asked, then I don’t believe the FAQs have addressed it yet. And I’m curious to know the answer, as I’ve talked about Autostraddle and A-Camp a lot lately among my friends, and a couple of them, despite not being lady-loving themselves, have surprised me by expressing interest in attending.

          • Hi Jane, I think the Autostraddle staff were clear that cis men (gay or straight) and straight cis women are not invited to A-camp. I’m just unclear on whether trans women have to have a non-straight identity and if any particular sexual identity is required of non-binary people and trans men.

          • if the question is:

            In other words, if someone is:

            -a gay man (trans or cis),
            -a straight woman (trans or cis), or
            -a non-binary person who is not sexually/romantically oriented toward women

            would camp be the right place for them?

            then the answer would be “no.”

            the answer to “do you have to *know* that you are queer or can you be questioning your sexuality? ”
            would, i think, be yes?
            you can be questioning your sexuality

            i’m pretty sure i got that right.

          • Thanks, Riese! I’m asking from a place of, I am a genderqueer person who feels ambiguously about my sexuality. I don’t have the funds to go to camp at this point, but am wondering if it’s something I should keep my eye on for the future or is A-camp something that’s not for me anyway?

            Also though, this question did come up last year on the posts about A-Camp scholarships for trans women. There were some straight trans women who were interested. So I wouldn’t be surprised if that question came up again and I think it would be worthwhile for your staff to come up with a consistent policy. (Not that you have to take my advice.)

            ( @riese )

  20. If there’s a fall camp this year I’ll try to make it

    I wanna go but I also really wanna move out of this terrible suburb, which I couldn’t do last year, partially because of the expense of camp

    I don’t regret that experience at all, but damn you guys. I Need To Escape The Suburbs ASAP

  21. Just registered! First-timer here! I’m soooo excited! I actually just figured out that I was queer last year (btw, 2016 = not necessarily the best year for that realization), so this feels really important and special to me right now. It’s also super convenient that it’s just located one state over in Wisconsin!

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