Billy Gatherings are a time to relax, renew, make new friends, yak and hug a lot. They are a time for leisurely hikes, great meals and hanging out on the porch side by side. Billy Gatherings are a time to take plenty of deep breaths and dive into the juiciness that happens when powerful men come together with fierce creativity.
Each of our six gatherings has a different theme and personality, ranging in size from about 50 to 150 Billys. All gatherings have Heart Circles, workshops and fun activities coordinated by individual Billys. At gatherings we create the outrageously ridiculous Talent/No Talent show and explore the realm of ritual and mystery. We sit gently together in Heart Circle, revealing our joys, fears and beauty, telling our tales of pain and wonder from the rich and colorful quilt that is woven from our individual lives: laughter and tears guaranteed. Under the guidance of professional chefs we help turn out extraordinary meals. Who knew chopping vegetables could be so fun!? Because we believe being really present to one another is a key part of a Billy event, gatherings are not a place for recreational drugs or alcohol.
Billy Mission and Values Statement
The mission of the Billys is to foster community, intimacy, and personal exploration among gay, bi, and queer men through shared values and heart-centered brotherhood.We are a heart-centered community woven together by shared values and by our shared experience as gay, bi, and queer men. We strive to be present and mindful with ourselves and each other and to foster:
- Compassion, generosity, honesty, and respect for ourselves and for others.
- Responsibility for ourselves, to each other, and to our community, including those in need.
- Personal expression and growth.
- Fun, frolic, and fabulousness.
- Celebration of our sexual and spiritual natures.
- An environment conducive to our physical, emotional, and sexual health, safety, and well-being.
- Welcoming and active integration of new Billys as well as openness to friends and family who share our values.
- Diversity that embraces differences including race and ethnicity, class, age, body type, HIV status, physical ability, education, and financial circumstances; we welcome gay- identified transmen.
- The building of bridges to other communities that support our mission and share our values.
- Reverence for nature.
- Commitment to resolving conflict through active engagement.
Heart Circle is our central ritual and consensus is our process; they embody our values.
We encourage ourselves to be present and mindful by advocating an environment free of drugs and alcohol at our gatherings.
We envision the creation of a world based on principles of nonviolence, sustainability, cooperation, service, and the building of deeper wisdom through shared perspective.
Beginnings: A Billy Origin Story
Beginnings are so important. Yet where does the tale of the Billys truly begin; and what is true of a tale from only one perspective when it is about a thing that affects so many? Well, my perspective is all I have so this is what I remember from my point on this wheel.
What is the Billy Foundation?
The Billy Foundation is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status, guided by a Board of Directors that meets monthly to steer the growth of the organization. Through this Foundation, we produce six large gatherings each year and administer the Billy Emergency Support Fund, which grants emergency assistance to Billys. Our Richard Locke Scholarship Fund defrays the costs of gatherings for those who attend. We also support Billy community events like potlucks. Our Gatherings are organized by volunteers within the community, guided by the Gathering Council. Consistent with the commitment to diversity expressed in the organization’s values statement, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee strives to ensure that the Billy community is a welcoming and safe space for Billys of color, transmen, low income members and the differently abled. The committee sponsors workshops at and outside of gatherings that address ableism, gender identity, racial/cultural chauvinism, class, and issues confronting other marginalized persons, works to promote multiculturalism, and advocates for the needs of historically disenfranchised communities within the Billys.