Top 10 Lies You Told to Get to A-Camp


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Lying to get to Autostraddle’s First-Ever A-Camp Event wasn’t something I’d imagined people doing, mostly ’cause I’m old and don’t have anyone to answer to. Also, I’m out and have been since I was 17-ish. It’s a privilege that must be checked and recognized. I, along with many of you, also live in a relatively safe, i.e. gay-friendly, environment. This is both a luxury and a blessing. All of my people within earshot or text distance knew that my lesbo ass was headed to the Shangri-la of camps.

This wasn’t the case for all of our A-Campers. Some of you definitely had some ‘splainin to do to parents, bosses and friends. From the minute, I picked up my girls in our (secretly raggedy) 15 passenger van, the stories of innocent deceit started to spill forth. I knew it couldn’t be just them, so I went on the hunt to collect all of the lies from everyone at A-Camp. But then A-Camp was super awesome and jam-packed with panels to speak on, girls to meet and lesbian things to learn. So ‘all of the lies’ turned into this little Top Ten List just for you, to make you laugh and acknowledge that you did whatever it took to get there. We see you.


Top Ten Lies told to Get to A-Camp


10. Visiting “friends”

As in friends who don’t live in Cali, as in friends who do and are covering for you, as in this is still a lie.

9. Attending a Progressive Blogger’s Conference

Yeahhhhh but noooooo. Liar.

8. Been asked to speak at a Feminism Rally

So close! But still not the truth.

7. Accepted into a Lesbian Christian Feminist Camp

Whoa — all of that together — does that even exist? Well, whatever works.

6. I’m just kinda going up to the mountains to do some mountaining–

*This lie receives the ‘That’s What She Said, Mz. Bernard’ Award.

5. They think I’m in Texas, right now

Well honey boo boo, only steers and queers come from Texas, so at least you picked the right state.

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?

3. On vacation (non-specific)

Even as an automated email reply, this fails.

2. Pro-Environment Camp

Um, are there any anti-environment camps? If so does that mean they have access to NASCAR and/or Twinkies?

And the number one best of the best LIES told to get to A-Camp is:

1. Attending a Professional Women’s Networking Extravaganza

Cuz that is like, so how it was that I officially make this a truth. #YOLO



Are there any super awesome lies not on this list? If you didn’t go to camp, what lies would you have told? Or maybe you’ve crafted some creative non-truths in the past? You know where to leave them — spill it beautiful homos.

Special Note: Autostraddle’s “First Person” column exists for individual queer people to tell their own personal stories and share compelling experiences. These personal essays do not necessarily reflect the ideals of Autostraddle or its editors, nor do any First Person writers intend to speak on behalf of anyone other than themselves. First Person writers are simply speaking honestly from their own hearts.

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Gabrielle Rivera is an awesomely queer Bronx bred, writer, spoken word artist and director. Her short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies such as the Lambda Award winning Portland Queer: Tales from the Rose City and The Best of Panic! En Vivo from the East Village. Her short film "Spanish Girls are Beautiful" follows a group of young Latina and Caucasian girls who like girls as they hook up, smoke up and try to figure sh*t out. She also freelances for while working in the film and television industry. Gabrielle is currently working on her first novel while bouncing around NYC performing spoken word and trying to stick it to the man.

gabby has written 102 articles for us.


  1. I told my sister it was a feminist training camp, my roommates that it was a (non-specific) retreat, and my work that I was having a reunion with friends and going camping.
    My family all pretty much thought it was a nudist camp until they saw pictures.
    Next time I will not lie. That’s one thing A-Camp gave me.

    • A fair amount of us (GG’s too) didn’t bother explaining to friends or family what A-camp was. It doesn’t lend itself to easy explanation. At least until you walk through it.

      I saw some former co-workers from a very conservative workplace about 10 days before camp and mentioned that I was going camping and thet asked me where. First, I kind of stared at them, and there was an akward silence, and then I mumbled #6, and then they repeated “Where,” and there was more akward silence, and then my old boss mentioned a place, as if to give me something to say, and so I said, “Yes, there.” It was pretty sad. But I don’t see them very often.

  2. I love that this became an article. It was fun to watch you ask people this with your official-looking clipboard. Definitely told everyone I was at a writer’s retreat. Partly truth?

  3. I told my family I was going to a “feminist convention.” They bought it, I think, but I’m pretty sure they’re starting to suspect something after the picture of me and my cabin mates and our Littlefoot doll holding a big rainbow flag . . .

  4. When y’all come to the East Coast, I’m signing up. I’ll just tell my mother that I’m hanging out with Haviland. She won’t question it.

  5. I just told people I was going to “camp” without any further explanation. And by “people,” I mean I told my emergency contact and as far as everyone else knows I was in Massachusetts the whole time, so, um.

  6. Lesbian Christian Feminism Camp was the BEST.

    I told my dad that Autostraddle was a “women’s website” and left out the queer part.
    My supervisor’s supervisor thinks I was “visiting friends outside of LA.”
    Pretty much everyone else knows the truth, and I’m grateful that I could be so honest about it.

  7. Anti-environment camp = all the rest of life, basically.

    The freeways & strip malls & large cars driven by single drivers we drove past in that 15-passenger van will haunt me forever.

  8. 7 is my favorite. Had I been able to go, I probably would have made up some vague national academic competition that I had qualified for. Or perhaps just a national girl scout convention, so that I could have been openly excited about camping.

    “National” is a requirement for out-of-state activities.

  9. Sadly, I was in the wrong continent to get to A-Camp, but I have done some pretty creative lying in my time. I think the lamest had to be when I went to go see Black Swan with a couple of friends a few months before I came out. While waiting in the queue, one of them turned to me, pulled a face and went, “You know, I’ve heard there’s some lesbian-y stuff in this.” Without thinking about it, I laughed and said, “Why do you think I’m here?”
    Queue a long, awkward moment as I realise what I’ve just said, panic, and try to cover with, “Wait, did you say lesbian? I thought you said body horror! Hey, I’m just going to nip to the toilet!”, then flee before she realises that that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
    And yet that same friend was still absolutely convinced I was taking the piss when I told her I was gay a few months later. The mind boggles.

  10. I told my Geology professor it was my grandpa’s 80th birthday and I told my math professor I was going to a geology conference. However, this camp was how I came out to my parents and family so that makes up for something… right?

    • i totally want to hear this story. it sounds so amazing. message me, girl. tell me the things.

  11. I used to work at a bookstore, and when Queer Prom rolled around, I told my parents that I had to work overnight to prepare for a Sarah Palin book-signing event.

  12. I didn’t lie this time, but camp take two is in the middle of my first semester at grad school and I’m planning on telling my professors/field placement supervisors that I’m going to a family reunion that’s been planned for a year already and my great grandma is super old and this might be the last time I see her. (All of my grandparents, great and otherwise, are already dead so I feel ok with using this excuse.)

    The “family reunion” part is totally true, though! My queer family. :)

    • Also when I got home my mom actually asked me if I had done any networking. I was like “……….uh……no.”

    • <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

      I don't have enough hearts to emit my joy at this.

  13. #1 was my truth. And I was pretty upfront about it being Queer camp.

    But when talking to most straight people, I dance around the word “Autostraddle” like a closet-case around pronouns. Once I mentioned it and the guy goes “huhwhatnow?” and I fumbled out “oh, the blog-it’s a blog. It won things, like a Bloggie Award. It’s a blog.”


      And Riese’s weird explanation of what Autostraddle means at opening campfire didn’t help, either.

      • Is this explanation going to be at opening campfire 2.0?

        Because I think I need to hear it.

    • It’s just so difficult…people tend to automatically assume it’s porn or nudism with a name like that. I just go with, “It’s this website thing I read…you wouldn’t have heard of it…” :(

      • I say, “one of the lesbian websites I read,” and that seems to go pretty well.

      • This isn’t camp-related, but my god the word “Autostraddle” has caused me so many problems! My paypal account was hacked a few months ago. I had to have many, many phone calls with my bank and paypal to fix everything. The last transaction on my paypal account before it was hacked was my Autostraddle subscription. It comes up as “The Excitant Group.” Both my bank and paypal thought it was some porn site and lectured me on safe internet habits and didn’t want to help because they thought I had giving my paypal information to porn-scammers. Saying, “no, that’s for a site called ‘Autostraddle'” didn’t really help my cause. Especially when I finally convinced someone to go to the site and it was blocked for sexual content. But everything is better now! And I will never use paypal again! So I had to be a weirdo and pay for camp by check!

  14. I think you should make a website for some fictional Feminist Women’s Writing (Christian?) Camp… whose link can be provided to parents wanting information.

    (Except not… I do approve of giving correct information to where you are to parents if you’re going off into the wilderness and you’re under 18… although I don’t mean this to be snarky or anything, like if you can pull it off… well, you do you.)

  15. Lesbian Christian Feminist Camp could have come from a misunderstanding because people often ask you to repeat yourself or they just makeup stuff about what they think you said.
    And sometimes you’re just like, “yeah, it’s a Lesbian Christian Feminist Camp.” And that’s the part they hear clearly.
    Also, you may not use inflection properly when being sarcastic.

  16. Ahaha, haha. My best Event-Related Cover For Me Lie:
    “Attending a housewarming and an art opening this weekend with friends” got me from Canada to New York City without ever explaining where, exactly, those things were happening. Which was in a girl’s bedroom in Queens.

  17. Last Saturday in order to go to the Atlanta HRC Gala, I told my mother I was going to a Dean’s List Dinner. Thank G-d she never checks up on me.

    • OMG! this is so funny but so true! When you are on the Dean’s List you can get away with SOOO much shit!

      I remember we had a bake-sale at school which may or may not have contained the addition of botanical elements. We made enough money to take the entire French Club to see Madonna.


  18. “I have to stay at college and study this weekend.” I went to pride instead. Studying beautiful women counts, right?

  19. You really did me around so that I could serve as the parent-sanctioned chaperone.

  20. While at camp, I texted in sick to 5 separate work shifts (2 jobs), which I had carefully scheduled so I would never have to text the same person twice and only have to text an actual boss once.

    Because I have been traveling in Asia recently, I told everyone when I returned that the doctor suggested I quarantine myself until my symptoms passed in case the virus was foreign (but that I was better now and no longer contagious).

    I didn’t tell my parents cause they live in San Diego and have been asking me to come visit since I got back from the Asia travels and I keep saying “no way I am wayyy too busy and tight on money to drive down to southern california right now” but then my sister told her I went to a music festival near LA (what? why?). So then I just told my mom I was camping, bad service, no time for details.

    • That sounds so complicated and scary…I could never do that an elabourate of a plan and pull it off. :D

      • and the silly part is that it had nothing to do with the gay, I’m out to my parents and my boss is a lesbian…

  21. well I don’t know about lying to go somewhere..but my bookmark of says ‘IPA/phonetic_transcription’. so there’s that

      • that would be nice. also, after clicking on your name/checking out if we’re soulmates I gotta tell you: It’s not M.I.A., it’s Fame by Santigold ! :)

        • ohmygosh i just found out yesterday! i was taking my clip around work demanding answers and one of my friends knew. also have you heard her new album? because i listened to it and my feelings are superpositive.

          • yes,I’ve been listening to it for a few days now and I also feel very positive about it.very!

  22. Luckily I didn’t have to (or didn’t bother, no fucks given) lie to anyone in my immediate circle, my parents and my brother had to listen to me count down excitedly for months, my boss got my whole excited schpiel as well as my co-workers and regulars.. everyone knew I was going to a magical gay place on the other side of the continent. BUT I did have to lie to the scary looking border guard on my way in.. I stumbled over my words as he looked me up and down and told him I was going to a camping retreat.. I’m really glad he didn’t ask me to elaborate.

  23. I’ve been telling people different things, so it’s been kind of tough keeping track of all the stories.

    To my parents: Going to an education convention as an extension of my spring semester. They can’t argue with school related things!
    To some friends: Going to a feminist convention.
    To some other friends: Going to a Christian camp. With a bunch of girls.
    To yet some other friends: It’s a website community….and we all decided we should start hanging out….in real life….so…..yeah…..

    So far, no one has really questioned me based on the pictures on FB. Either they haven’t figured it out yet or nobody wants to be the first to ask :P

  24. I didn’t go this year but I already have the cover-up lie planned for next time. I’ll just say it’s a music or viola camp, I’d even have the fake flyer and registar thingy done by then. :)

  25. Definitely called it a leadership conference to my professors. Told my mom I was going to hang out with friends of mine from the internet. My sister, who knows a bunch of my internet friends (from another part of the tubes) inquired after them, I told her “not those friends”, so I’m pretty sure my sister figured it out since I’m out to her and my facebook is covered in pictures of me and a bunch of gay ladies now. So I only had to actually lie to my teachers, which honestly I don’t even think counts as a lie cause it wasn’t to avoid any work.

    • I’ve had like 4 people ask if you’re my girlfriend because of our matching profile pics. Including my mom. OOPS.

      • And here I was hoping exactly that! I was al like “Aww..An A-Camp love storyyyyy” Oh well. It was still fun to meet ya’ll

      • Haha, I’ve had a few friends ask questions about that picture too. Digger, it is a love story, just a very platonic one. I love all my ASSchat people to death!

  26. I told all my friends where I was going and even some of the straight ones went ballistic when they heard Harto was going to be there.

    I told my parents I was going camping, but didn’t really specify. Later, my mother stalked my facebook and said:

    1. So, darling, which of them is your girlfriend?

    2. You should maybe privatize some of your shit if you don’t want every person on your facebook to know you’re giant homo…based on the pictures, it’s kinda obvious you were at gay camp.

  27. Next year:

    Me in my head: A-Camp is a Professional Women’s Networking Extravaganza, Professional Women’s Networking Extravaganza… Coo.

    All bags are packed, standing by the doorway, me to my mom: Hey Mom, I’ll be out of town for a few days. I’m going to a Professional Women’s Networking Extravaganza, Gay-Camp. Uh.. A-Camp….SEE YOU LATER!!! **Runs out of the door in my Tevas**

  28. I’m still waiting for my family to work out that the scenery in all the camp photos I’m in looks nothing like the central coast of NSW, Australia (when they asked me where I was going I said “Oh up the coast somewhere…”) and remarkably like a mountain near LA.

  29. When Jess was asking her boss for time off to go to camp I told her to say it was for a “networking event” I think.

  30. I ran into a classmate on the plane to camp and told her that I was going to an internet gathering and then told her that it was definitely not sketchy. I don’t think she believed me..

  31. Not Camp related (I was several thousand miles away at the time) but whenever I was sneaking off to spend my lunchbreak eating my girlfriend’s face in the local gay bar (wasn’t out at work for discriminatory reasons) I told my boss I was “going to the vegan cafe” because I knew it was the one place apart from the gay bar where he’d never check on me :D

    • what kind of boss checks up on where you are having lunch? Sounds like a weird situation.

  32. I didn’t tell my parents at all what I was doing but when my mother asked, she was like ‘and it’s all women? it’s not some BIG LESBIAN THING is it?’ (you know where we dance around fires naked and lure innocent straight young women into the dark cultish ways of The [[Real]] L Word & granola & smirking & not wearing bras).

    I told my mother there might be some lesbians, but it wasn’t about the lesbians, it was a purely educational venture. Educational.

  33. I describe(d) Autostraddle to people who didn’t know I’m a giant homo as a feminist website, so by that extension it was a feminist retreat that I went to. I told family that I was going for a “girls’ weekend to California” to celebrate end of semester, and I told my professor that I had pre-existing travel arrangements to California so that I could have my final exam moved a day early.

    Upon coming home, though, A-Camp indirectly became my way of coming out to my mom.

    “So, what camp did you go to?”
    “I’ll…talk to you later about that.”
    “Why? Did you go with your new secret boyfriend or something?”
    “*sigh* Girlfriend. I have a girlfriend, and no, she didn’t go.”
    //life-altering moment\\

  34. Ugh, that picture of you all just really makes me wish I could have gone to Camp…

  35. I really REALLY wanted to go to this but High School got in the way and, more importantly, I have the type of mother that needs to know whether I will be eating with a spoon or a fork at dinner (and whether my FRIENDS will be eating with a spoon or a fork at dinner) before she will even consider the thought of letting me go. Lying is no use because she is notoriously suspicious everything. Yeah. I have one of those. And I’m not out, so that wasn’t something I wanted to get into.
    GAH! I live in California so it was so close, yet so very very far away. (In fact, the first thing I thought when A-camp was announced was how close it was going to be to where my Senior grad-trip was going to be. That’s how badly I wanted to go.)

  36. Lol, Lesbian Christian Feminism Camp has to be my favourite. I’m in England, so I’d have the easiest excuse ever, going on holiday. I’d like to think I wouldn’t have to lie to my friends and family, but I would have to lie to the people I work with. Kinda sad really. :-(

  37. Right now I am lying to some people about where I am going. But my goal date to be out to everyone (except my bosses… that just can’t happen) is the day I leave for A-camp 4.0… I do not want to lie. I don’t like it and I also have a safe environment to come out in. I just thought it would get easier the more people I told, but telling my family is proving to be tricky/stressful. but it shall be done!!

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