About Camp GB
Camp GB has historically been a multiday, overnight retreat created by Trans people for Trans people. Due to COVID-19 Camp GB 2020 and 2021 have shifted to an immersive virtual experience.
While Camp GB is a unique experience every year some of the staples we offer every year include connection with medical and legal services, workshops, spaces to connect and build relationships with other Trans and Gender Diverse Southerners, Talent shows, and more.
Check out some pictures and videos from past years below, and stay tuned here for updates about how to get registered for Camp GB 2021!
Camp GB was founded in 2013. The group had already been having monthly meetings and deep conversations and nearly everyone was in agreement that we needed to have more time to fully explore the issues we were talking about. Our leadership team started reaching out to people and we borrowed as many air mattresses as we could find (about 20), and we started asking our friends for money to feed and provide programming for our people for the weekend. We packed the air mattresses into the basement of one of our leaders to create a makeshift dorm. That first year we housed, fed, and delivered programming to just over 20 people for the weekend on less than $250. Afterward, it was unanimous – we had to figure out how to do this again.
In year 2 we grew to serve about 35 people, but we still didn’t have enough resources to move to a real campground. We borrowed even more air mattresses and had people set up tents for additional sleeping quarters. In year two our programming became more well-rounded – including free legal services, workshops on spiritual reconciliation work, team building activities, and of course – the GB Olympics. At the end of year 2, a couple things were abundantly clear: 1) We had to figure out how to continue this program and 2) There was no way we could continue to grow at our current location.
Year 3 was our first year moving to an actual campground in North Georgia. This was such a pivotal moment for Camp GB. We finally had real dorms, actual cabins, beds with frames, and the occasional glimpse of air conditioning. But the biggest relief this provided to our leadership team was having a kitchen staff. That removed the burden of planning and executing meals for 45 people and allowed us to really focus our energy on delivering quality programming to our people. In year 3 we added more in-depth work around building political power and creating policy change on college campuses and in our local communities. We had more robust programming around developing coping skills, building self-esteem, and preventing suicide among our members.
In year 4 Camp GB grew again to serve nearly 60 people. We were reaching new communities with attendees from West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Ohio. In year 4 we were also able to partner with our friends at the TRANS Lifeline to do more training with our people about suicide prevention as well as connecting people with opportunities to give back by volunteering as operators with the TRANS lifeline. In year 4 we also introduced a mentorship program for TRANS folks focusing on community organizing, academics, and using multi-media platforms to advance our movements for social justice. In addition to this programming in year 4, we were also able to offer name change clinics that walked folks through all the paperwork to complete the process and we were able to provide stipends for our members to cover the legal fees to complete the process.
In year 5 Camp GB served a total of 75 attendees from NC, SC, GA, AL, OH, WV, and MS. We were able to hone in on the most powerful pieces of programming for folks and really focus more of our energy on delivering more programming around those issues. We held breakout spaces for NB folks, TRANS masculine folks, TRANS feminine folks, parents, and partners that were powerful for all attendees. We also introduces POC only spaces – understanding that the compounding oppressions people face leave them in desperate need of time and space with people who fully understand their experiences. We also hosted the TRANS Leadership Initiative’s (a program from the Campaign for Southern Equality) graduation where they shared their years worth of experience with our campers. In addition to this work in our partnership with CSE we were also able to offer micro grants from the Southern Equality Fund to our campers to help fuel their work for social justice beyond Gender Benders.
In 2016 two new programs were introduced in addition to our programs included or the past six years. We launched our GB Footstep Fellowship program – a 6 month program that offers intensive mentoring and skill building for TRANS youth from Upstate, SC. We also introduced a robust health track at Camp GB 2018. The health track included screening for high blood pressure, free HIV testing, tools for smoking cessation, group activity incentives, morning yoga, and aqua Zumba in an ADA accessible pool.
Thanks for all your continued support! Without your donations we would not have been able to offer this programming to our people. For that we are eternally grateful.
Year 7 was a special year for us. Along with the other health and legal resources we offered in years past, in 2019 we were able to provide doctor visits from QueerMed. They came to provide onsite Hormone Replacement Therapy and letters for name and gender marker changes.
Little did we know it would be the last time we got to gather in person for a while.
Year 8 was a new adventure for our team and community as we explored ways to connect with each other and the resources we need in the virtual world to do our best to keep everyone safe from COVID-19.
We may have been on Zoom, but that didn’t stop us from having a blast, and creating the spaces we needed to fill our cups.