OPEN THREAD: Let’s Talk About How A-Camp Rocked Our Socks Off

Hi! I’m super confused right now because we’re not at camp. Specifically: we’re not at A-Camp. See, the past week has gone by faster than any other week in the history of time, I swear it.

(photo by ariel)

(photo by ariel)

Maybe it was the Super Moon, or maybe it was the slap to DeAnne Smith’s vulva or the Klub Deer stamp you’ve yet to wash off or the Lilith Flare songs you can’t get out of your head or maybe it’s that quiet spot in the woods you found or how we carry you in our hearts all the way down the mountain and how we can’t stop talking about you and what we’re gonna do next.

photo by ariel via twenty-something

[photo by ariel via twenty-something]

Marni’s sleeping beside me and Crystal’s gotten into bed in the other room and we’re in Los Angeles and we’re not at camp! There’s not always a lot of time to sleep at A-Camp so the fact that they’re both sleeping means we’re definitely not at camp. You guys, WHY AREN’T WE AT CAMP? I’m so fucking tired but I had to write a thing anyhow because I want to be right there, right at camp, and this is how we make it last a little longer.

getting ready

getting ready

It’s really beautiful up there and when you show up with your hearts wide open, pretty magical things happen and fun is had.

photo by amy g. via facebook

photo by amy g. via facebook

One of you told me that going to camp was like going home, and everybody who’d been back and forth once or more said it felt that way too. I feel like A-Camp is becoming different things for different people, and I like that. How some girls just wanna have fun and others wanna completely transform how they see themselves as a queer lady in a weird weird world and others just wanna be outside without internet for a minute or 500.

hannah-and-laneia

I’m proud of our team who worked their asses off for free, threw themselves completely into creating workshops and panels and performances just because they believe in you, believe in this, and wanted to have fun. It kinda seems like we’re finally getting our shit together, and maybe that’s why every time it becomes more and more and more apparent that YOU are camp.  Thanks for hanging out, weirdos. You’re really fucking fun to hang out with.

hellcats

There will be the feedback survey for all of your feelings about how things got done and could be done better. There will be the recamps to pretend like we’re still there forever and finally see all the photos you haven’t shown me yet, which is almost all of them.

by stephanie via instagram

by stephanie via instagram

So, for now: what’s your favorite memory of A-Camp? How do you feel at the bottom of the mountain? HAS ANYBODY FOUND THE SUPER GLUE???

somer bingham is slaughtered by camp (via instagram)

somer bingham is slaughtered by camp (via instagram)

A-Camp 4.0 will take place from October 9th-13th. Registration will open in mid-to-late June. Stay tuned for more details.


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Profile gravatar of Riese

Riese is the 35-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City and mellowed out in California before returning to Michigan for reasons that are unclear to her now. 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 2359 articles for us.

249 Comments

  1. 0

    SWINGERS CLUB

    also the Starjammers are fuckin amazing and quite literally lifesavers, thank you so much

  2. 0

    The fact that so many autostraddle staff members allowed me to dance on you in appreciation our final night. Definitely my favorite part. Thank you for that, and if I missed you come to Charleston and I will show you my thanks by moving my body rhythmically on or near your body. Only if it’s consensual of course.

  3. 0

    I’m not ready for post-camp feelings. Haven’t even begun to process or unpack. I suppose I will have to do that soon as life off Queer Mountain starts to catch up to me.

  4. 0

    You are all awesome and Megan and Laneia and Rachel and Marni and a lot of other people saved my ass a few times so thank you.

    Also Riese agreed that we need a hammock panel next camp so I’m just waiting for that.

  5. 0

    Real life sucks you guys, all I want is to go back to camp forever and ever and ever. Also sidenote, look at those super sexy Runaways ;P

  6. 0

    I didn’t even realize camp was over till i got home. now i’m super sad face. also ps: torre is totally single, you all should hit that. just saying…

  7. 0

    Favorite parts…
    My alternative lifestyle haircut with Katrina change my life. I look in the mirror now and I see myself.

    Daniela at the WOC panel taught me that I don’t have to worry about making other people comfortable about making me uncomfortable.

    My new cabin family

    DeAnne Smith made me laugh so hard I thought I might actually need medical assistance.

    The final dance party. Brandy Howard tho.

    • 0

      I look in the mirror now and I see myself.

      Tears.

      Emily – you are amazing and I am so glad we get to be friends in real life. Also, DeAnne Smith. Also, as your friend, I am sending you high fives re: Brandy. Rock it, queermo.

    • 0

      Emily I dont think I could have had a better person sitting next to me at Deanne Smith! I am glad niether of us lost consciousness! I less than three you!

    • 0

      Emily you are simply amazing. Funny how much a haircut can change how you feel, but I totally get it. Same thing happened when I first chopped off my hair. Goodbye hair, hello a body I can actually call home.

    • 0

      emily i’ve been seeing your comments all over AS for what feels like forever, and they are always so fucking SMART and ON POINT. to realize that YOU are “emily from rae’s cabin,” “emily of the awesome haircut,” and yes, “emily who i told rae was “SO HOT” when we were recapping camp together last night,” is totally mindbogglingly awesome. i will continue enjoying your commentary on AS but with so much more love and respect now, as if that is even possible…and also now with a teeny tiny crush 😉

      • 0

        Vanessa!! Thank you so much for your kind words… I don’t think I’ve ever received so many compliments in my life and it’s a strange and wonderful new feeling!

        Talking with you the first day gave me the courage to want to go take stock photos because I realized that I DID want to be the representation of what a queer woman of colour looks like.

        I also hope I get to do Straddler on the Street/Mountain with you someday…

        PS I totally have a teeny tiny crush on you and Rae… you must come visit Vancouver.

  8. 0

    Riese, you are SO RIGHT about A-Camp meaning different things to different people. For me, this camp was about going after what I really want in life. When I learned how to do a body roll, all I wanted to do was to keep doing it in front of a mirror. So I did for a while, and then I realized I was at camp and dashed off to the pool party. With an 18-pack of Corona.

    On a sadder note, I felt like an outsider by wearing four-inch heels to the dance. Idk if it’s that or my current adolescent-like femme aesthetic, but I had to run to my cabin and take them off. And once I realized that I didn’t want to portray myself as something other than myself…I called off my night really early.

    Listening to “Let Go” over and over helps me stay in my happy place.

    • 0

      GAELA, I WAS TOTALLY WEARING HEELS AND FEMMEING THE FUCK OUT.

      See, this is why I’d love a real Femme meetup like Dapper Hour. We could all talk about our Femme feelings and encourage each other to rock our amazing heels and our fierce personal style. Your Femme is just as awesome and legit as Butch or Dapper or Andro or anything else, girl! lovelovelove

    • 0

      Gaela – you are so very beautiful outside and in. You actually took my breath away a few times. I have a lot of (concerned/sad) feelings around the fact that you felt like an outsider in heels. You do you. You rock the shit out of whatever makes you feel good. You are a fucking babe, and don’t ever forget that.

      • 0

        I less than three you. Tbh I felt like I was operating in a different world than others, in which I’ve reverted to a teenage girl and y’all are past that. So while I do share some femme feelings with other campers, most of my personal feelings were lost in translation and it was hard for me to relate or convey that.

        • 0

          I can totally relate to feeling like a teenager in queer years and had this conversation with at least one other camper. FWIW, I hated heels as a teenager and would never have worn 4-inch heels then. So it really could just be what you’re into!! I bet you rocked them.

        • 0

          When I first got into femme, it was SO FUCKING HARD, because it felt so wrong, so un-gay, so straight. The older I get, the harder my femme gets. I am powerful in my pink, and I survey the world from the height of my heels. You know me on FB if you need to talk <3

  9. 0

    You guys, at camp I could actually go up to anyone I wanted and just start talking to them and it was all okay and I didn’t burst into flames or have a panic attack. What is this magical world we’ve created?

  10. 0

    “I Love It” has become the background music to my life. It confuses me when 300 queers don’t chime in and sing along…

    Normal people don’t understand why I have a triceratops tattoo on my neck. Or a Klub Deer stamp.

    Not every boy is a boi. Not every femme is a queermo. To my dismay.

    Nothing will come close to the repetition of “slap my vulva.” Nothing.

  11. 0

    i love that feeling when you know someone in a picture and therefore vicariously live through them…

  12. 0

    at the dance when somebody killed the power and everyone just kept singing along to “dancing on my own.” It was the last magical group thing I saw and I’ve been in that memory all day!

  13. 0

    FUCK A-Camp 4.0 falls on a class cohort weekend and those things are really difficult to get some time off for ><

    • 0

      Yeah, got to LAX and got misgendered twice in a row, immediately after getting off the shuttle, including by the TSA agent doing the body scan which resulted in them questioning what I had in the middle of my chest. Thems would be my tits, squashed in to a uniboob by my sports bra.

      • 0

        For real it’s so ridiculous. I don’t mind being misgendered all that much but HE WAS HOLDING MY LICENSE. It should be obvious that I am who I say I am.

      • 0

        THIS HAPPENED TO ME TOO. They made me turn around and I saw the monitor and just thought, fuck. “Are you wearing any jewelry?” Um, no. Then they stared at me and my license forever, scanned me again, the female agent muttered something about checking my pockets, brushed one closed cargo pocket without looking at me, and let me go. Nice cover.

        I realized at the gate that I never took the liquids out of my bag. That was totally fine, but my chest situation? Extremely threatening.

    • 0

      This makes my heart hurt. Big time.

      My friend works for the Canadian Border Agency and trains/educates new guards. She is working to educate her students regarding gender/sexual orientation and body stuff and make the border experience safe for every body. I really goddamn hope this can happen everywhere in Canada and the United States and the world, really fucking soon. She also has a new recruit who identifies as genderqueer and prefers they as a pronoun, and is working to educate her peers and students to fucking get it.

      • 0

        that is AMAZING. I am genderqueer and use ‘they’ pronouns. Other posters have talked about being misgendered via ‘sir’ at LAX and other airports…I pretty much have a different experience: People see my short sissy androgyne ass and incessantly SHE and HER and MA’AM me (to the point of grammatical weirdness–as if they were trying to win a contest called “How many female pronouns and references can you put in one sentence?”). It’s like they are saying, “What are you doing, bitch? You trying to be a BOY? We’re not fooled. KNOW YOUR PLACE”. At LAX, they always send over the biggest, meanest security guards at airports to ma’am me to death before they yell “FEMALE!” so I can have my shit grabbed. HATE IT.

  14. 0

    And now I have just realized I can’t go to camp in October either! What a downer! I could manage to get a Friday off, but I won’t ever be able to explain to my employers why I need Thursday, Friday and Monday off.

  15. 0

    East Coast camp! East Coast camp! East Coast camp!
    (I could continue, but I think you get my drift)

  16. 0

    Ahhh so many favorite moments. I keep staring at my 100% realistic cat merit badge, my shoes that are caked in 80 layers of trail dust, and enjoying JUST HOW SOFT the inner lining of the A Camp hoody is. Y’all this culture shock is difficult, and the only thing that makes it slightly better is my cats are super nice to me right now and I can walk without feeling like I’m going to pass out from not being able to breathe. <3 A CAMP.

    • 0

      Oh my god, badges.

      I am obsessed. OBSESSED. And really slow at making them. So hopefully that improves quickly. Thank you for that make a thing workshop, @Hansen!

  17. 0

    We came off the mountain and ventured to WeHo and entered a Starbucks that was exclusively filled with men. Talk about jarring for a bunch of lesbians coming from lesbian camp.

  18. 0

    I can’t believe the overwhelming amount of pride I had when my campers performed in the talent show, said awesome things at panels, or wore adorable things to Dapper Hour. I was just so in love with you guys and wanted to be your Mama Duck forever and maybe even tell you to drink more water.

    This morning at a stoplight in Vegas, two men in cars on either side of us got out of their vehicles and started screaming at each other. Zeller locked the doors and Torre just quietly said in the backseat, “Fuck the patriarchy.” I’d take bears by the swings any day over life off the mountain.

    • 0

      I so totally feel like this! When Annie read the piece that she and Minerva had written in the workshop, when my campers all went to each others’ haircuts, when Christina Fucking Brehm was basically a folk star at the talent show – I would like to be Mamma Duck forever more.

    • 0

      Today walking across campus I couldn’t help but feel my skin crawl abit at the Bro-Dudes yelling at each other. GET OFF MY PLANET, There is an ACamp under all your BULLSHIT!

    • 0

      Do we still get to claim Mama Duck status if what we actually said was, “I’m so proud of @willis…for turning on all of the other campers!” I mean, I just don’t know if actual motherly ducks would say that.

        • 0

          You two are obviously the best Mama Ducks. I mean the drag was your idea Hansen and Kristen you are the one who hooked me up with my hot/douchey facial hair. Also, hydration of course played an important role in the evening. Did that sound sexual? Good.

    • 0

      Yeah, that was an interesting reality check. I was thinking of course this is happening. The universe needed to remind me just how much I was not at A-Camp anymore.

  19. 0

    This was my first camp/interaction with Autostraddle (Y’all can thank Lindsey for throwing me at you) and it’s so hard to pick my favorite part.

    Was it lesbian heaven/the pool party?

    Was it the emotionally/vaginally stirring version of Oh Canada by the Canadian Bacon meetup?

    Was it the Queer Country Mouse meetup, which gave me so many feelings and connections and amazing people that I related with so hard?

    Was it sitting with Geneva while I waited for my 6 am shuttle, talking about Firefly and how people are really prejudiced against the middle of America in the queer community and she was so amazing and receptive and thoughtful?

    Was it drinking two Solo cups full of bourbon and yelling my horse feelings at my cabinmates?

    Was it being perceived as desirable for being femme after coming from a lesbian community where femmes are less wanted?

    I don’t know, I still have so many feelings about camp and how wonderful it was and how I’m completely coming back next spring.

    • 0

      I also forgot the whiskey tasting! It was so amazing and I tried a rye that was so good I got LEGITIMATELY a little tearful. Also, chatting with Ali and Alex about our whiskey feelings afterwards

      • 0

        Doc!!

        This Canadian is blushing/grinning. That was the best ever.

        Horse shouting!!! It’s a thing. As your cabin-mate- so endearing.

        Whiskey tasting was fucking epic.

        Rock your fine-ass femme self. Your outfits blew me away as a tomboy-fluid-girly-boi-feminine-andro-gender-punk. For reals.

        XoLoveYouxO

    • 0

      Doc you floored me from the moment we tumbled off the bus and I was dragging my one wheeled crappy luggage and you were hauling that Pink polka-dotted monster you brought. 🙂

      You never failed to wow me with you look. And hopefully someday Hilly and I can get out to Montana and do some riding. Horses, I mean. 🙂

        • 0

          I did do it in heels! Thank any and all powers higher for the handsome butch that took my bag to my cabin for me, though I never laid eyes on her again, TO MY GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT.

      • 0

        Ahaha, my bestie came to pick me up to take me to the airport that morning, looked at my luggage, and went “Who are you, Mallory Archer??”

        I managed to forget: A flashlight, jacket, aftersun cream, granola bars, and a wine opener. But I remembered 5 pairs of shoes, 8 hairbows, and 25 eyeshadows #femmeproblems

      • 0

        I just want to point out that my middle name is Rae and we both love bourbon and that you and I both love floral print and are short and adorable and so I think this means all three of us should be great friends and I should hang out with you in NY.

  20. 0

    the super glue is in the same box as the staplers in alex’s basement! robin and i had multiple organization orgasms yesterday afternoon. organaztiongasms.

    • 0

      #organizationgasms.

      This is a regular occurrence for me. Which can be awkward, depending on when and where it happens.

      Just kidding. Organizationgasms are never embarrassing.

  21. 0

    There was this one time at the start of this post where Kate and Ali were in the same picture… -blush-

    When I have the possibility to go to the US for an internship in 1.5 years, there better still be A-camp happening!

  22. 0

    Caaaaaaaamp!!! There was a moment in the Nashville airport when I was waiting for my luggage that I though, “I could be the only queer person in this room.” And then I didn’t cry because I didn’t want people to be weirded out by the lady crying alone at the baggage claim, but it was a close thing.

    I think my favorite part about camp was feeling a sense of community for identities that often make me feel isolated: the bisexuality panel and the country queers discussion made a big impression on me. Really, I just loved being a part of a group ENTIRELY made up of smart queer individuals and not having to come out and not having to explain what heteronormativity is before connecting with people.

  23. 0

    I am severely missing being able run off and walk around aimlessly around the trees, sit at a firepit, or swing on the swings anytime I want to precess feelings.

  24. 0

    This was absolutely one of the best weeks of my life. Having to return to the queer community (or lack thereof) here in Idaho after the amazing one I had at camp is breaking my heart. It was so nice to be welcomed as a queer woman in a space for queer women and people instead of having to try to fit in with a bunch of gay men who think that when I say I’m a trans woman that means I’m a drag queen. Everyone else on the staff made me feel so incredible and like I was a part of something amazing and I truly felt like I had a community that I had never had before. Seriously, I miss everyone so much, and I can’t wait to see y’all again.
    I also want to give a special shout out to all my femmes that showed up for the femme meetups! I have so much love and respect for all of you, your beauty and your strength. You all looked amazing and were so wonderful and had such amazing things to say and I wish I had femme meetups everyday at lunch!

    • 0

      @Mey – you are beautiful, articulate, honest and open. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and thoughts at the gender and WOC panels. And for just generally being awesome all the time.

    • 0

      Mey it was really really great to meet you. I would loved to have chatted more but camp was such a whirlwind. I find you inspiring and impressive as hell. 🙂

      Thank you.

    • 0

      The femme meetups were my favorite parts of camp by far, and Mey I am so glad you put it together. I can’t condense my feelings about it into a coherent comment so I’ll leave it at that for now. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • 0

      thank you Mey for being a lovely person and for having that lunch with us! I’m sorry I showed up late and painfully shy and almost didn’t sit with the beautiful women because of the shys and then proceeded to be extremely lousy at accepting compliments on my dress because of the shys and also anthropologie-related shame.

      Mey, does it count as a femme meetup at lunch if you’re a cute femme woman and people want to “meet up at lunch” with you?

  25. 0

    I love that people know I’m queer at camp. I don’t have to say a word. I don’t have to wear a rainbow.

    Also I made some badass mountains and someone said they were “etsy quality,” so that felt pretty great.

    The talent show was also fun and it was great watching Kay conquer her fear.

    • 0

      “I love that people know I’m queer at camp. I don’t have to say a word. I don’t have to wear a rainbow.” <- This is everything.

  26. 0

    In the last 24 hours, for every question asked of me, I’ve wanted to reply, “TELL IT TO MY BALLS”, which as it turns out, does not amuse the TSA.

    • 0

      I wish I’d had the chance to say “NOPE” to the customs agent, but unfortunately we were met by a computer kiosk while crossing the border.

      SERIOUSLY you need to tell the whole story of this one…

  27. 0

    Miss you and love you all. Whiskey tasting, basketball, POOL PARTY, KLUB Deer, your faces, a break from the “real” world. I’m still processing but I can say for sure I needed ACamp and I didn’t even know just how much. Next time I’m determined to be less shy and connect with more of you incredible women. Love love love.

  28. 0

    A customer at work today interacted with both my coworker and I simultaneously for a few minutes. She called him by his name the entire time and called me “honey” over and over and over again. It took extreme reminders that I need to keep my job not to scream I AM NOT YOUR HONEY AND WHY CAN YOU JUST KEEP CALLING HIM JOHN OVER AND OVER BUT CANT FIGURE OUT HOW TO READ MY NAME TAG TOO AAAAAHHHHHHHFUCKTHISIMGOINGBACKTOCAMP

  29. 0

    They’re all my favorites. A top choice would be the Swag 101 work shoppers having me fashion walk my converse around the circle though. You all are the best confidence boosters anyone could have!

    Also, I’m still laughing about Marika working hard to convince Riese to have a hammock session. That was a beautiful drinker conversation, and I love you both. <3

  30. 0

    I feel so tired today that I can’t believe this past weekend even happened. I miss everyone and the cafeteria food and the tiny shower.
    I always need a few days to analyze how camp helped me but I can already say it’s given me more confidence. A major part of that is Brandy telling me she loves me boobs.

  31. 0

    OH ALSO I really enjoyed teaching DJ and Somer how to hammock.

    And DD did a great job with the special people food, and he kept making me special sauteed veggies when there were tomatoes and peppers on the table. But I’m not gonna be able to touch quinoa for weeks. So. Much. Quinoa.

        • 0

          Yes, the staff was amazing with the food. Just being able to get a clear answer about what each dish contained was huge, let alone all the other effort. I also won’t be able to touch quinoa for awhile, as one of the complicated special needs people, but actually I thought the quinoa lasagna was a really great idea that I wanna try at home sometime (their version wasn’t totally safe for me but it looked good, and I hadn’t come up with a lasagna alternative before so I’m thankful for the inspiration).

  32. 0

    I think I just had my ass kicked (in the best way possible) by camp. Nailed it! Now come the repercussions of no longer being on a mountain top full of awesome lady loving humanity

  33. 0

    UGHHH I MISS ALL OF YOU SO MUCH.
    I have so many feelings about hook-ups and family and being around queer people on a mountain was so fucking fabulous and I love everyone a lot. Also I’m even more in love with the Autostraddle team than I was before which I didn’t even think was possible. GAH (just wrote out GAY on accident twice) I miss CAMP!

  34. 0

    I’m sitting in my twin sister’s hospital room (she was admitted last night) finally looking through all the Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram posts about camp. It’s making this stressful situation and the long night ahead of me/us a little better. Thank you for that.

  35. 0

    Guys I wasn’t even at camp but this thread alone made me develop crushes on at least 50% of you.

    In other news I’m almost-crying because I am a bridesmaid at a wedding that weekend in October. Sigh. Maybe next May?

    • 0

      what she said. also: dying to know what horse feelings are ’cause I’m pretty sure I probably have them too.

  36. 0

    There is no one favorite memory, however, the pool party was a totally life changing experience. Really.

    I went to a pool in a bathing suit and danced. Not only that, people came over to me to tell me I looked good… in my swimsuit. It was the first time I’ve ever felt comfortable pool-side before.

    Also, pool chicken fights with lesbos are a good thing.

    Katrina pulled out the clippers, shaved my hair, and made me handsome as fuck. I never felt so sexy before.

    I saw a bird and cried and no one judged me.

    I danced more in three days than the last year combined.

    I will never forget queers on the mountain.

  37. 0

    I loved camp. I felt safe, at home, surrounded by acceptance and love.

    I am extremely shy and often awkward with people. Despite this, people still came up to me, interacted with me without disdain. It was life changing.

    maybe next year I will be brave enough to get a hair cut. 🙂

  38. 0

    I think my favourite part was dressing up in bowties with my fellow Outlaws. Wasn’t sure I could “do” that look…

    I have feelings about bowties now.

  39. 0

    I was at the first camp, and this time was so much better. The first time I was so intimidated and overwhelmed that I couldn’t connect with anyone – this time I found myself having some intensely important conversations. Besides all my femme feelings, one of my favorite things was the Bloody Hell panel and Lizz/Rachel’s period sex role play.

    To my Starjammers: you made this weekend so comfortable and welcoming. Ranger, I feel so blessed to have met you and I can’t even begin express how great you are. You all are terrific, terrific people.

    I mentioned this a few times at camp, but usually when there’s a giant group of queers we’re all angry, or sad or protesting or whatever. It is so fucking special to have so many of us in one place where we’re just allowed to be happy. Not even that, we’re allowed to just be. As soon as I was alone for the first time in the airport I felt so foreign in the “real world.” I was trying to figure out if any of this actually happened, or if I just imagined it all.

  40. 0

    well this is just incredible. i am honestly super jealous. i am from cape town, south africa – studying at rhodes university in grahamstown – and i have never heard of anything like a-camp in these parts. i would love to come to the US just to get involved; maybe one day.

    anyway, a big shout out from down south – i read autostraddle every day, so thank you all so much.

    kate

  41. 0

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone on staff who worked hard to make this happen. You truly made this an amazing and welcoming environment, and I really appreciate your hard work. Daniela and Lizz: thank you for decorating our cabin, facilitating Star Jammer introductions, and being there when we needed you.

    I’m so glad I had this experience. It was wonderful to feel embraced by my beautiful, colorful, diverse queer community. I formed some beautiful bonds and friendships along the way.

    I know that many of us are sad about leaving that behind. But I do believe that we need to work hard to create accepting and positive environments for our queer kin in the “real world,” and coming to A-Camp has certainly given me the inspiration and tools to do so.

    Hugs and fingersnaps,

    Maggie <3

  42. 0

    It was my first A-Camp and I don’t even know where to begin. I thought it was going to be ‘sorta-fun-learning and sexy-time’. WRONG. Instead it became ‘super-intense emotional and incredible self-reflection time’. After I cried three times on the first day (huge deal guys! I don’t like emotions! I cry in the privacy of my bedroom, not out in public sitting next to people) I decided to not even try hooking-up. There’s shit I’ve been avoiding And ignoring in my own life and I need to stfu and process it.

    And this camp was so perfect for that. I’ve never been around so many people who were open and honest about their experiences. Who were so willing to go out of their way to help you.

    Favorite parts include the You’re Relationship Doesn’t Have To Suck panel. I was expecting goofy but NOPE. Shit got real and it was so relevant to my life and the lives of people I know. I’m do glad the people speaking didnt shy away from the subject of abuse but talked about it directly and honestly.

    Swagger 101. Again, thought it was gonna be goofy. NOPE. So relevant. So important. Would anyone else like to gush about it?!

    Dancing. Every night.

    My cabin pals. We got real close real quick. I felt like I was 100% myself and they loved me for it! That’s so reassuring! Goofing off on the final day, impromptu spray painting everything we owned, feelings time that didnt feel forced, staying up till 5:30 in the morning and making messes. All of it. I loved it all, 300%.

  43. 0

    you guys. i can’t even put together any coherent feelings because my heart is still on the mountain and i don’t know how to process my feelings with just my brain. i just feel like the fucking luckiest human on this planet to have all of you in my life. even the people i didn’t have a chance to interact with so much at camp, you made it what it is. riese is so right: YOU ARE CAMP. thank you for existing and helping us create a space that feels more real than anything else in this world. good grief now i’m tearing up at work…

    for real though. blackhearts, you have my whole heart — not even cookie butter or nutella can compete. auto-team, you are all giant powerful gorgeous rocks, supporting me and us and a-camp and this world. campers, you are so fucking beautiful.

    i can’t wait until a-camp is a forever thing. i know it’s coming. i’ll see you all there <3

  44. 0

    I honestly don’t know how I can sum up something so incredibly luminous as the emotional safeness of Acamp. I’m trans* and all that and while Autostraddle has always made me feel welcome there is still that tiny fear that in person things would be different.

    And they were.

    They were so much better. I chatted with everyone, revealed myself to be “the Shelby from the comments, sorry my hair isn’t red” and I loved Everyone. I danced and wrote and laughed and loved more in the past 5 days than in a year of this dimmed down patriarchal world. (Well aside from the love Part, Hilly keeps that going for me.)

    Women who I would be terrified to even speak to walked up and chatted with me while I was in a Bikini. A Bikini! And then I ended up dancing in that Bikini. It was to Gangnam Style but it still counts. 🙂

    I went to a dance in a blistering Red Dress and I felt so safe.

    Still feels like a dream.

    I forgot about so many barriers and reflexive defenses after the first day that everything was just smooth and open. It took the unconditional love of nearly 400 beautiful people to detach decades of fear and internalized hate.
    I cannot explain what this means. When I came down off the mountain I found all that old baggage there, but I walked by it. You all changed me.
    Thank you.

  45. 0

    I can’t deal with finally being back in St. Louis, y’all. I can’t.

    I got rerouted twice, I’m home nearly 24 hours after I was supposed to be, and my luggage still hasn’t shown up. Alice fucking Motes took me in for the night, and I can’t thank her enough for responding to my emergency HELP! facebook message.

    I would go through all that again for A-Camp. All of it.

    Also, Marika kept trying to find handsome bowtie wearers for me to make out with at the dance and afterparty. Best wingqueer ever.

    • 0

      EVERYONE THIS IS MY FRIEND ISN’T SHE CUTE SHE’S LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO MAKE OUT WITH.

      cause that’s not awkward. 🙂

      • 0

        You kept pulling me over to random people saying that, it was hysterical.

        And i’m like OMG HI WTF I’M RUNNING AWAY NOW THANKS.

    • 0

      My flight got diverted to Brisbane which quickly turned into me, Desiree and Crystal wandering around the domestic terminal in a delirious daze trying to find passable food and/or coffee situations. (Protip: NOPE.)

  46. 0

    Well, I just finished my first day back to work and I am not gonna lie. I welled up a bit. I miss you all and the majestical queerness of it all. I am counting down the days till next camp.

  47. 0

    I also just finished my first day back at work. It was made easier by listening to Songza’s “Top Dance Pop Party” playlist and reminiscing about Klub Deer. I long to be back on the mountain, soaking up the sun and meeting all you amazing queers.

  48. 0

    Looking good, Runaways.

    I typed out my feelings and that ended up being 2 single-spaced pages so that’s a lot for a comment… but really, I love you all, and thank you for making this the most amazing week of my life. I’ve never felt so included, safe, and loved. I’m so so so grateful to have had this experience.

    I really wish I was in a feelings circle right now, or at Klub Deer, or just drunk on the swings. I miss the mountain.

  49. 0

    so can we please talk about Courtney’s Cuntry Store and the possibility of raising $1.2 m for land for a commune where the A-team could live with their families and work and have camps there will be a pitbull rescue/queer lady cat circle etc?

  50. 0

    It looks like A-Camp 4.0 will be on my 21st birthday and I would like to announce right now that nothing will be keeping me away and all my professors can suck it.

  51. 0

    Ialsodidn’tgotocamp BUT my heart swells and my mind and heart travel to glorious places upon reading these comments. Yay to AS and all that you do and are. It is a good Straddlin’ week.

    Also, on that note

    a) my You Do You pin finally arrived, which was freaking exciting (also because *Parcels from Alex Vega*).

    b) the pin appeared to have a mark on it, prompting feelings of ‘oh hell no!’- but upon closer inspection it appeared that this is glitter, which is freaking amazing and makes the pin even *GAYER* than before / gayer than hell (which, if the conservatives are right, is pretty damn gay already)

    c) I Breakfast Clubbed that pin and have been wearing it as a single earring for all of today, because You Do You

    d) I wore said earring/badge/shield/beacon to work tonight, because You Do You

    e) At work, this occurred:

    Customer Girl: “Sorry if this is rude-”
    Me, anticipating a question about the location of certain chocolate/some other product/ some info about a special sale we’re having: “no it’s fine-”
    Customer Girl: “..I just wanted to say that you’re one of the most beautiful people that I’ve ever seen”.

    Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

  52. 0

    As the Outlaws know, I don’t have many feelings and I prefer to end most things with a joke BUT I will say this: A Camp was the only place in the entire world that I could 100% be myself. I didn’t have to think about my hair or bathrooms or my boxers showing. I could just be. And that is the greatest gift I have ever received.

  53. 0

    Megan freed my vodka from the forgotten security tag with her barehands (and Ellen’s leatherman)! She is amazing and I kept the bottle and will always.

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    Kind of hoping Camp 4.0 is on the first set of proposed dates, that falls over Columbus Day in the U.S. which several of us have as a holiday so one less vacation day off work.

    Is there a central repository (facebook? twitter? someplace else?) for posting/sharing/submitting photos from camp? Have a few I’d like to share but not sure what’s best.

  55. 0

    Can’t choose just one favorite memory, but here are a few that will always be with me:
    -After the non-monogamy panel, hearing from people that my voice resonated with them. Hearing from folks that my story gave them confidence that there was a “place” for them in the AS community to be open about their relationships (openness about relationship models as well as relationship partners/gender of partners).
    -Getting to perform a campy, gender-bending, sexy/silly act at the talent show–I was not at all prepared for the enthusiasm from you ladies and will always cherish that.
    -Hearing the very honest stories of people I admire and respect who’ve been through fire and risen like phoenixes (both in formal avenues like the “your relationship doesn’t have to suck” panel and in individual conversations.) So much inspiration and love.

    There are many other moments and conversations I carried home with me as well. The Lauryn Hill cover from Lilith Flair has been in my mind today, I hope someone recorded it 🙂

    Huge thank you to the Autostraddle team for your vision and work, and to everyone at camp for making it magical.

  56. 0

    guys. i can’t even. i can’t real world. once i got off the mountain i think i seriously melted. anne-marie almost shoved a guy off of a bike because he was the first cisgendered man she saw and she panicked.

    this camp was incredible. they’ve all been incredible, and i can say that i am just going to keep going back forever because it’s the thing that fuels me to get through every day, knowing that mountain exists and you all exist and i love you all more than you know.

    this camp i felt brave and happy and really in the moment. i wore a two-piece swimsuit in public for the first time. i danced. i formed uncomfortably close bonds with those around me. i did a panel! i was so nervous for my panel that my hands were shaking when i tried to hold the microphone, but eventually i became comfortable and so many of you came up to me afterwards and thanked me for sharing and asked me for advice and my heart exploded a little each time.

    i am proud of all of you and i am so in love. and autostaff – you guys are life changers, and i’m sincerely and overwhelmingly proud to call some of you my friends, because you made magic happen and i pinpoint autostraddle and camp and the staff and the things you write and say as the entire reason i became the happy, confident, okay-with-myself person i am today.

    but really – am i humaning?

  57. 0

    One day I really want to go to one of these things, if I’m ever in the US – or arrange a holiday just so I can come. Although I’m probably too socially awkward to truly benefit from it, but I’d love to lurk among you wonderful queers.

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