The Burning Man: Dress Code Freedom!

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Dear reader, my intent is that you will, as a result of reading this article:

  • React with “oh, wow, I feel like I know a lot more now” 
  • Feel better about yourself
  • Have a nicer life 
  • Be more empowered to culturally oppose the large amount of negative and flat-out-wrong information on this subject.

* * *

Open Sexuality

I adore live-and-let-live culture of Las Vegas.

In that lovely city, I was at a classic car auction a few years ago. I noticed a curvy, gorgeous blonde girl in her 20s or so. She was accompanying her boyfriend.  She wore a thin, tight band of cloth that served as a skirt – a very short skirt. The fabric was totally unable to obscure whether or not the girl was wearing underwear. It was obvious to me that she wasn’t. Her clothing -- and attitude -- proclaimed her joyful sexuality at the world around her.  As to her top, it was a similarly-shaped band of the same cloth. Evidently, she wasn’t wearing a bra either.

There she was, looking happy, resplendent and highly desirable, and yet life went on. The auction proceeded, and the sun still rose, the next day.

Free Markets, Free Minds …

I’m a free-market girl. That ideal has many political and economic implications, but one of these is that government stays out of your sex life, what you look at, what you wear, and what you read, as long as the underlying activities are consensual. Respect that limit, and the government doesn’t get to prevent you from celebrating your life joyfully, including your sex life.

We’re a little closer to that situation than we were a few decades ago. Nowadays, in many Western countries, we’re beyond the point where the government can intrude and lock you up in prison or an asylum for being gay or trans … though that’s a relatively recent development.

Being fearless as to government intrusion goes a long way.  You can live your life as you choose, including being open gay, trans or sexual. But, are you actually making the most of that freedom – or are you still stifling yourself by adhering to conservative societal norms with which you disagree?

Fahrenheit 451

The book by that title describes a dystopian society in which all books have been burned, and are banned. Something close to that society did happen in Germany in the 1930s, and many other cultures since and before have taken a similar stance.  

For now, however, you’re generally free to read what you choose.  Are you making the most of it?  Have you read The Story of O by Pauline Reage, or the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure?


In public, in most places, beyond a certain point, it remains forbidden -- and punished by government -- to wear clothing that is too revealing. As to where that “don’t go beyond” point is: it depends greatly on “where” and “when.”  I’ll leave the legalities for another article. For now, I’m just asking: are you making the most of it?

Many of my friends do sex work, and there’s a commonly accepted premise that it’s always a bad idea to contact the police for any reason whatsoever. I won’t get into that issue, but I’ll tell a story about when I violated the principle.

About twelve years ago, I had a lovely girlfriend who enjoyed celebrating her sexuality with a dress code that left little to imagination.  I was about to take her to Hawaii on vacation, and I’d bought her several sexy beach outfits from the famed Wicked Weasel clothing company – and both she and I were curious as to how little she could actually wear on Waikiki Beach without breaking the law. 

I contacted the Honolulu Police department and asked the desk sergeant the question. He answered them in a commendably professional way, but I could see that the implementation might be open interpretation. I asked if I could email him several pictures and get his opinion. He agreed, and I did. 

Based on his subsequent feedback, she and I were clear as to where the mathematical limit of the law was, and we could happily enjoy ourselves right up to that point.


In the next day or so, I plan to join 70,000 people. a great many of whom tend to feel the way I do about celebrating oneself.  We go to the middle of the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada for the Burning Man festival, to get away from government intrusion into which clothes we choose to wear – if anything.  Those of us who like to dress sexily will do so. I certainly intend to. 

But, for me, Burning Man isn’t an escape from a stifled life. I dress sexily already. I have nice boobs and hard nipples, so I celebrate that by wearing thin-fabric tops with no bra. I have nice legs so I enjoy wearing boots and outfits that show off my legs nicely.

And yet, by conservative standards, I shouldn’t. I’m a 6’ tall trans girl. I live in a small town in rural Nevada.  I have multiple business here, and a lot at stake. I’ve lived here for a long time. I’m no longer young.  By all those standards, I should dress conservatively – yet I don’t.  I celebrate who I am. 

I like how I’m treated as a result. My dress code doesn’t cause people to me mean to me.  If anything, they’re nicer yet.  And so, I don’t need to go to the Burning Man festival so as to live joyfully as who I really am. For me, Burning Man is just a level further up, yet, as to freedom.

I hope my example inspires you to live more happily and freely.

                                          Written By: Tanya Charbury

Tanya is a former model and former sex worker including being a former Dominatrix. She's also a professional writer and speaker on subjects ranging from sexuality to software engineering. She is a transgender girl and has been out as such for more than 5 years. She's a free-market girl, and by implication is adamant that anyone's consensual sexuality, including sex work, does not deserve threats of violence nor actual violence from any individual or group, least of all a government.


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