“Camp Boomerang is a private, membership-only RV park/campground that allows only ‘guys’. A ‘guy,’ in terms of this discussion, is defined as a person with a penis, presents himself as male and has a state-issued ID that says ‘male’,” owner Bryan Quinn wrote on Facebook.
The campground, which is due to open next summer in Orleans, Michigan, has become the target of justified criticism by publicly- and proudly- confessing their intent to discriminate against the trans masculine community.
“We understand this statement, unfortunately, may not make everyone happy, but feel it needs to be clarified. It is our hope that everyone who visits Camp Boomerang enjoys a comfortable, safe, non-confrontational environment going forward. Being a ‘private membership only’ entity allows us the ability to build a like-minded atmosphere. We don’t mean for this to come off as a ‘like it or leave it’ attitude, but we feel it’s necessary for everyone to know exactly what our vision is for Camp Boomerang,” Quinn explained in a February 15th post in their Facebook Group.
Many voices of dissent from potential customers who identify as cisgender gay men found themselves blocked from the group altogether for defending transgender men.
The issues with Quinn’s statement are numerous. Beyond the blatant discrimination rooted in his own intolerance, he implies that, in order for cis gay men to feel “safe,” transgender men must be excluded. This telegraphs the message that, somehow, trans men compromise the safety of cisgender gay men.
Also, Quinn’s unwavering focus on one’s genitalia they must possess and a gender marker on government issued ID in order to gain admission suggests that his “vision” for the campground surpasses the traditional expectations of bonfires and barbeques typically had at a campground and leans far more into promotion of sexual activity. Otherwise, it begs the question; Why would would-be campers care about- or need a ruleset ensuring exactly what they will find beneath another member’s underpants?
This act of discrimination is not exceeding different than bills introduced to keep transgender folks from using public bathrooms. It purposefully confuses the intended experience to be had in one by the trans user as opposed to the cis user. Conservative Republicans portray bathrooms as a preying ground by sex-starved transgender people who demonstrate a physical threat to those innocent individuals just needing to satisfy the need to relieve waste. It ignores completely the fact that trans people also must evacuate- but the bills set out to make the need to urinate in a public bathroom a privilege organized and refocused solely on genitals and their sexual function instead of waste disposal. Bathrooms are deliberately (mis)interpreted as sexual spaces for trans people instead of the often unkept, foul smelling and dirty spaces they are. But, the narrative provided attempts specifically to demonize transgender people. Using gender markers and organs of people to discriminate against them is a tactic that, as transgender people, we hate to see our gay counterparts resort to. The gay community, after all, had their own battles against broad misrepresentation of their intent and discrimination enshrined in law for decades, written off as sexually depraved, threatening to children and entirely amoral. Even today, religious zealots and conservative Republicans alike are working diligently to protect the “No Gays Allowed” rights demanded by business owners and public service providers.
So, why would that same ire be turned on transgender people by the gay community, also entrenched in that sad reality? Remember, the bakers who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple were also running a private business. So were the countless other experience and service providers who invoked their free speech or religious rights to legally discriminate against gay and lesbian customers.
The precedent Boomerang Campground is setting will work directly against the entire gay community who seek equality and inclusion in broader society. You cannot argue against discrimination based on sex while simultaneously, discriminating based on sex. It defies logic. And telling someone they’re not “The right kind of man,” or “Man enough” to participate is something your own enemies will use against you.