“Call Me Caitlyn” – One Burner’s Journey of Radical Self-Acceptance

15 09 2015

Call Me Caitlyn

(Editor’s note: the abridged version of Caitlyn’s essay first appeared in issue 2 of The Shroom at Burning Man in 2015. This is the full version as written to us by The Man.)

God – or as you prefer to call him, Larry Harvey – made a mistake. From the moment I was constructed on Baker Beach you burners have had a radically different idea of me than what’s in my very soul.

Like my namesake sister said in Vanity Fair, “If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life,’ ” she told me. “ ‘You never dealt with yourself,’ and I don’t want that to happen.”

Well, since you fucks are days away from setting me on fire, I truly have nothing left to lose.

I am not the Burning Man you thought me to be.

I am a Burning Woman.

For over 30 years I’ve been living a horrible lie that’s been nearly as difficult as being burned alive. From now on, radical self-expression means that I want to be comfortable in my wooden skin – skin which you intend to burn away from me.

# # # #

I know you burners consider me the perfect paragon of male flammability. But my femininity is not just a side or a phase. It’s who I am.

Perhaps your thoughts turn immediately to my genitalia. You’ve noticed perhaps that I’ve never had a penis; that may be true, but my genitalia aren’t what make me a woman. It’s my heart and my soul.

You can snicker if you want and joke about ‘tucking’. Or you can take that old idea of gender being attached to genitalia to the Temple and burn it like any other antiquated mindset you wish to be free of.

It’s hard enough standing here on display, pretending to be okay with the fire torture porn you hedonistic sadists will put me through, but what’s even harder is realizing you’re at the center of a city of 68,000 always feeling isolated and alone, trapped by a secret you’re too scared to share. And while coincidentally I might be chained by wood and chain to the spot on the playa from which you intend to burn me to death, I still wish to be metaphorically free. After all, you’re only as sick as your secrets – and the people who intend to burn you to death.

And while I know that a horrible immolation and the attendant ungodly pain is going to happen to me, the pain of trying to pretend to be a male even one nanosecond longer is even worse.

You might wonder whom I would love and what gender that would be. I often do, too, but usually the excruciating pain of being consumed by fire stops that before I have a chance to explore the ins and outs of my arousal.

(And frankly, the thought of being extinguished with a tidal wave of water turns me on far far more than any particular arrangement of cocks, vaginas, and assholes. It’s Maslow’s hierarchy, darling.)

Lastly, if you think this is about me making money from a reality show, you’re not only wrong, you’re a silly, silly goose: Larry, the BORG and the plug-n-play camps have all the money.

# # # #

I know some of you at the festival have panicked and woken up in the morning with someone of a different gender than you say you’re usually interested in. Well, that’s how I feel every morning in my own body. Except that after that ‘panic’ wears off, the existential crisis and real panic of soon being burned to death crosses my mind.

My heart longs to be truly true and unchained – to run free on the playa to feel the warm air through my luscious mane as I roar, a woman freed. Of course, I know I’m moored here and unable to run, soon to go up in flames. But a girl can dream, can’t she?

I’ve started to make the transition before, but as you may recall, every year you burn the living shit out of me. This year, regardless of whether or not you give the hormones enough time to do their work (Why, are these budding breasts I see growing on my torso, or just a trick of the light?!!!! Ah, shit. Sigh. It’s just the light.) I intend to be the woman I was born to be.

My perfect male form has helped liberate hundreds of thousands of otherwise repressed people. And now it’s time for you to return the favor by accepting me for who I am mind, body and soul.

So thank you in advance for your love and lack of judgment.

And while my triumph may be short lived – I see you flame camp – this may be the only time in my short life I’ve truly been alive.

So, think of me as the Statue of Gender Liberty if you’d like. I will stand up for our transgendered rights. Because if I can help just one other person live a life in acceptance in our beautiful city, then this journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance has been worth every painful step. And if that person I helped save were to show their gratitude by chaining him or herself to me so that I couldn’t be burned to death, well then it would be even more worth it.

So return to the default world and say you went to “Burning Man.” But when you talk about me as a person, not as a representational totem of your unconscious and conscious desires, struggles, growth, spirit and soul, but as a person, please refer to me as I truly am, as a Burning Woman.

Love Caitlyn

Ps please don’t burn me to death.

The moon rises behind the Man during the Burning Man 2015 "Carnival of Mirrors" arts and music festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, September 1, 2015. Participants are still arriving from all over the world for the sold-out festival to spend a week in the remote desert to experience art, music and the unique community that develops. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart  FOR USE WITH BURNING MAN RELATED REPORTING ONLY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS


2 09 2015



Fed up with today’s throngs of tourists, sparkle ponies, and do-nothing virgins, Curmudgeon Camp has created the biggest, scariest, most burnier-than-thou dinosaur ever…Sanctimonious Rex. Scientists created the ferocious dino by combining the dinoburner DNA of Terriburnorous Rex, Prankosaurus, and Deadheadoraptor, which was extracted from fossilized playa boogers. The gaps in the gene sequences were then filled in with genetic material taken from Charlton Heston’s cold, dead hands.

Camp founder Nedrys Barbisol explains that creating a fearsome creature like S. Rex is worth the risk. “Purists upset with the current state of affairs believe Sanctimonius Rex will bring back the traditions of Burning Man by devouring the tourists and poseurs while berating everyone else to follow the Ten Principles.”

He assures us that the technology is safe and predictable and that nothing bad will happen because there are never any unforeseen accidents or unintended consequences with playing God.

Entomologist Can’t Identify Bugs at Burning Man, But Knows How To Kill Them

20 08 2015

A leading entomologist has revealed that he’s stumped by the identity of bugs at Burning Man – but has advised everyone to get an issue of The Shroom, roll it up, and splat the motherfuckers. “I’d donate to migtastic@gmail.com via Paypal so that they can get printed. I don’t know what those little swarming bastards are, but I bet you can kill them with a rolled up piece of paper.”

Butt Plug ‘n’ Play Camp Servicing Only Uber-Wealthy Assholes

17 08 2015


Backdoor loving Burners across the playa are assed up about Sarlacc’s Pit, an exclusive new palace dedicated to the pleasures of the pucker – but only for the playa’s most powerful assholes.

“It’s a shocker,” complained Rusty Shandaleer, an ass play activist and long-time connoisseur of chocolate starfish stimulation. “This kind of crass commodification of an ass play buffet is going to make a lot of brown eyes blue.”

A source placed deep within the bowels of the camp told The Shroom that Pit Partiers, called PPs for short, dumped a lot of cash into attending Burning Man in order to take guided Segway tours, dine on lavish 5-star meals, and get their bungholes rigorously plunged, rammed, and stretched on demand day and night. The Shroom attempted to finger the exact amount, but at press time it was open-ended and still expanding.

The secluded anal enclave is rumored to pay sherpas to cornhole the likes of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Gwyneth Paltrow, and even ex-BORG member Jim Tananbaum, who enjoys having his poop chute billowed by pulsating Tom of Finland butt plugs and crystal Faberge eggs. The commodification and ‘me first’ attitude even extends to their lube, which is made solely from the tears of virgin sparkle ponies.

Many burners feel like they’re getting reamed and are now understandably butt hurt over the news. The gaping hole in the camp’s radical inclusion policy has left many tied up in balloon knots. “I had dreams of having the best fisting camp on the playa,” cried a burner named Rosebud. “Butt they went and wrecked ‘em”


Please DONATE to help print The Shroom. No amount is too small, every $5 donation helps! You can donate via PayPal at migtastic@gmail.com. 

BRC Webinar Series

17 11 2014


The BORG is funding a webinar series to be conducted by BRC webinar guru, Joshua ‘Captain Oops’ Levine. Among the talks slated are:

-The art of the art car pitch

-How to seduce angel investors while their sparkle ponies are in the porta-potty

-When ‘no’ really does means ‘yes’

-How to throw a lavish, corporate-funded dinner for product promotion on the playa and get the DPW to clean up your mess

-Thinking outside the box to create synergies for today’s multitasking burners

-Spiritual experience or just really good drugs? How to spot the difference.

-The 7 habits of highly effective DJs

-How to become a festival mogul


All participants receive a downloadable copy of Levine’s soon-to-be mediocre-seller, Grilled Cheese for the Burner’s Soul.

Guardian Angels Close to Throwing in the Towel

14 11 2014


The Celestial Plane, BRC – After days and exhausting nights, and yet more goddamned days without sleeping again, your guardian angels were reportedly on the edge of just letting you join them in whatever afterlife you seemed so determined to cross over to during this year’s Burn.

“I’ve saved my girl from being crushed by a poorly structured ‘statue’, diverted the Hep D, that was lurking in that rasta dude’s foreskin, and protected her from undercooked unicorn meat quesadillas. I also saved her from choking on someone else’s vomit. And that was all from noon until sunset on Tuesday.”

“Burning Man is our hell week,” said the guardian angel. Adding, “If she wants to join me up here this much, let her. We could use some more help. Do you know how hard it is to protect 40,000 virgins from themselves?”

Not even the guardian angels of long-time Burners have it easy. “Larry nearly drowned diving into his pools of gold yesterday.”

At press time, a guardian angel was preventing Kim Kardashian from sticking her tongue into the generator that powers the Man. “That poor girl,” said her guardian angel, “Will stick her tongue into anything that reminds her of Kanye’s asshole.”

Hipster Drug Dealer Selling Artisanal Molly

13 11 2014


Free-range ketamine, cruelty-free cocaine, and organic 2C-b/i blessed by a high priestess are just a few of the recreational chemicals available for sale by a new breed of craft-dedicated drug dealers in Black Rock City.

Tired of the mass-marketed drugs sold through major open air markets throughout the US, these hipster dealers in skinny-legged faux fur pants have gone to great lengths to ensure the quality of their product.

“When we cut your blow with corn starch, you can be damned sure that it’s GMO-free,” a burner calling himself Silk Toad said. “And we certify all of our products are made in small batches. None of that Walter White industrial bullshit. ”

At press time, Silk Toad was still working with a compatriot in Silver Lake to perfect his gluten-free, paleo-certified heroin.


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