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Dyke march

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Pre-Dyke March assembly at Bryant Park in Manhattan (2019). The New York City march is one of the largest commemorations of lesbian pride and culture.[1]

A dyke march is a lesbian visibility and protest march, much like the original Gay Pride parades and gay rights demonstrations. The main purpose of a dyke march is the encouragement of activism within the lesbian and sapphic community. Dyke marches commonly take place the Friday or Saturday before LGBT pride parades. Larger metropolitan areas usually have several Pride-related happenings (including picnics, workshops, arts festivals, parties, benefits, dances, and bar events) both before and after the march to further community building; with social outreach to specific segments such as older women, women of color, and lesbian parenting groups.

Dyke marches are concentrated in various influential cities across North America. New York City, in which the first officially declared Dyke March was conducted,[2] continues to hold these marches annually throughout its boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Other cities where dyke marches may be found in the United States include: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Long Beach, Minneapolis, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland (Maine), Portland (Oregon), San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC, and West Hollywood. Canadian dyke marches can be found in Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. The first Latin American dyke march was held in Mexico City in 2003.[3] In Europe, dyke marches take place in various cities, including Berlin, London, and Stockholm.


Dyke march, Boston, US, 2008

Before the concept of a "dyke march" came to be, one of the first documented lesbian pride marches in North America took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in May 1981. Approximately 200 lesbians attending the fifth Bi-National Lesbian Conference marched through downtown streets chanting "Look over here, look over there, lesbians are everywhere!"[4]

Later, in October 1981, the now-defunct organization Lesbians Against the Right held a "Dykes in the Streets" march in Toronto, Ontario, with lesbian power, pride, and visibility as the theme. 350 women participated in this demonstration.[5][6] Another similar demonstration would not be held again in Toronto until 1996.[7]

The first conceptualized and self-proclaimed dyke march was formed in Washington, DC, during the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation.[8] Organized by the Lesbian Avengers, over 20,000 women participated in the march on April 24, 1993.[9][10] Due to the successful turnout of this first march, the New York Lesbian Avengers decided to organize a march of their own held in June 1993. Beyond marching throughout the city, a manifesto was handed out and the Avengers created a “float”: a bed on wheels full of kissing dykes. A banner, which is used every year to demarcate the front of the March, was improvised at Bryant Park with markers and oaktag. Around the same time that year, Atlanta and San Francisco also held their first dyke marches.[11]

Most dyke marches today occur in late June during Pride celebrations commemorating the Stonewall riots in New York City on June 28, 1969.[12]

Importance to community


The first Dyke March held in April 1993 in Washington D.C. was accompanied with a manifesto crafted by the Lesbian Avengers. The purpose of the flyer was to address the necessity for grassroots lesbian organizing, especially given the anti-gay bills being pushed throughout the early 1990s. After learning about this manifesto, lesbians from Los Angeles created a large banner for their contingent, and those from Philadelphia constructed a vagina statue that was carried through the streets of Washington D.C.[13][14]

An excerpt from this call to action within the lesbian community reads:

Calling All Lesbians! Wake Up! It's Time To Get Out Of The Beds, Out Of The Bars And Into The Streets. It's Time To Seize The Power of Dyke Love, Dyke Vision, Dyke Anger, Dyke Intelligence, Dyke Strategy....We're Invisible, Sisters, And It's Not Safe—Not In Our Homes, Not In The Streets, Not On The Job, Not In The Courts. Where Are The Out Lesbian Leaders? It's Time For A Fierce Lesbian Movement And That's You: The Role Model, The Vision, The Desire.[15]

Lack of recognition by media


After the second annual Dyke March in New York City on June 25, 1994, there was a lack of media coverage of the event in spite of attendance numbers reaching 20,000.[16] The New York Times was the only major newspaper that published a mention, albeit brief, about the march. The Lesbian Avengers perceived the overall silence to be a "media blackout", resulting in an aggressive media campaign.[16]

Concurrent with the international march on the United Nations on June 26, 1994, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising,[17] the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) issued a press release about Stonewall that failed to recognize the existence of the Dyke March.[16] The Lesbian Avengers confronted the organization about this oversight, and GLAAD re-issued the press release with the addition of a sentence acknowledging the absence of mainstream media coverage about the march.[16]

International Dyke march events





Dyke March, Berlin, Germany, 2018

As of 2023, there are dyke marches in more than twenty cities and regions in Germany. The nationwide network of "Dyke* March Germany" is gathering information on all of the dyke marches in Germany on their Instagram account.[18]

There is a yearly dyke march in Hamburg and since 2014 in Cologne, Germany.[19] Since 2017 also in Heidelberg, and since 2018 in Oldenburg.[20]

The Berlin Dyke March has been in operation since 2013 in the LGBT-friendly neighborhood of Kreuzberg.[21] The march occurs annually in June, on the day before the Berlin Pride Parade.[citation needed]

As of 2023, there are dyke marches planned throughout the year in Berlin, Bielefeld,[citation needed] Braunschweig,[citation needed] Bremen,[citation needed] Erfurt,[citation needed] Frankfurt,[citation needed] Göttingen,[citation needed] Hamburg, Hannover,[citation needed] Köln, Lüneburg,[citation needed] München, Münster,[citation needed] Nürnberg, Oldenburg, Rhein-Neckar,[citation needed] the Ruhr area (three dyke marches each year),[22][better source needed] Weimar,[citation needed] and Würzburg.[citation needed]

United Kingdom


The London Dyke March was first organized in 2012 and is held each year in June.[23] The 2012 march featured speakers, including a representative from the Safra Project, a charity for Muslim LBT women, and Sarah Brown, a transgender lesbian activist and former Lib Dem councilor.[citation needed]

The London Dyke March emphasizes diversity, including bois, queers, femmes, butches, and lipstick lesbians.

Latin America




The first Latin America demonstration of a dyke march was held on March 21, 2003. This march extended from the symbolic Monument to the Revolution to the Zócalo, the capital's huge central plaza.

Organizers state "For us, the Lesbian March is an important show of visibility because it aims at smashing stereotypes and prejudices."[3]

North America


United States

Asbury Park, New Jersey

The inaugural Asbury Park Dyke March was held in October 2020.[24]


The Chicago Dyke March is held in the month of June and has been in operation since 1995, beginning in the LGBT-friendly neighborhood of Andersonville.[citation needed] Many participants consider it "a chance to celebrate ourselves as women, as lesbians, and to show the community that we are here."[25]

In 2008, organizers of the Chicago Dyke March announced that it would remain in a new location for two consecutive years.[citation needed] The location of the march changed every two to three years to increase visibility throughout all neighborhoods of Chicago.[26] The March was held in Pilsen in 2008 and 2009, in South Shore in 2010[26] and 2011, in Uptown in 2012 and 2013, in Humboldt Park in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and in La Villita in 2017.

New York
19th NYC Dyke March, New York, US, 2011

The Second Annual New York City Dyke March was held in June 1994 and led to the solidification and continuation of the yearly NYC Dyke March.[27] The march is open to everyone who identifies as a "dyke".

As with the San Francisco Dyke March, the organizers do not seek out a permit, and put emphasis on the political. Even though there are many club nights and parties after the March, the event is not so much about entertainment as it is about highlighting the presence of self-identified women within the LGBT community and in protest of the discrimination, harassment, and violence they face.[28]

San Francisco
Front of dyke march parade, San Francisco, US, 2019[better source needed]

The first San Francisco Dyke March was held in June 1993,[29] and is celebrated every year on the last Saturday in June.[30] The march begins in Mission Dolores Park with speeches, performances, and community networking; and ends in the Castro District.[29] The dyke march is informal, with marchers creating their own signs and most people showing up to participate, rather than to just watch. The San Francisco Dyke March has high attendance numbers.[citation needed]

The streets along the march route are lined with enthusiastic spectators in support of the women.[31]

In the early years, the San Francisco Dyke March Committee (a small group of volunteers) never applied for nor received a permit from the city,[31] exercising the First Amendment right to gather without permits and often changed its route to avoid the police.[32]

Dyke march at PrideFest, Seattle, US, 2017

Seattle's dyke march occurs the Saturday before Pride and begins with a Rally at 5 pm at Seattle Central Community College, followed by the march through the streets at 7 pm.[33] The rally is held outdoors, includes speakers and performers who are women identified and queer identified, and is ASL interpreted.[citation needed] Since the late 2000s, organizers have filed for a permit.[citation needed] Since about 2007, the march audience has been about 1,000 women, and the permit ensures the streets are clear for marching.[citation needed]

Washington, DC

The DC Dyke March was first organized in April 1993 and thereafter held annually in June until 2007. After a 12-year absence, the march returned in 2019 with "Dykes Against Displacement" as its theme, in protest of the elimination of low-income housing due to gentrification.[34] The march, however, became mired in controversy resulting from the banning of "nationalist symbols".[35]

Incidents regarding Jewish pride flags and anti-Zionism

Jewish pride flag, Gay Pride parade, Paris, France (2014)

2017 Chicago


In 2017, Chicago Dyke March (CDM) organizers singled out three women carrying Jewish pride flags and began questioning them on their political stance in regards to Zionism and Israel. After a discussion, organizers asked them to leave the event, insisting that the rainbow flag with the Star of David "made people feel unsafe" and that the dyke march was "pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist".[36][37][38] The incident prompted widespread criticism and accusations of anti-Semitism.[39][40][41] A member of the Dyke March Chicago collective stated that the women were removed due to the flags, and pro-Palestinian organizations were asked by CDM to release statements of solidarity while they crafted an official statement.[42] March organizers later released a statement maintaining that the women were asked to leave due to their "Zionist stance and support for Israel", and not the use of Jewish symbols.[43][non-primary source needed]

In 2018, members of the local Jewish LGBT community expressed reluctance to attend that year's march, citing concerns about safety and alienation.[44]

In 2021, an Instagram post from the CDM organizers included the American and Israeli flags burning. The post was later deleted and replaced with a new image that shrouded both flags in flames.[45][46]

2019 Washington, DC


Similar to the 2017 decision made by the Chicago Dyke March, the 2019 Washington DC Dyke March adopted a policy that "nationalist symbols", including Israeli and American flags and the Star of David when centered on a flag, cannot be displayed.[47][48] Organizers said these symbols represent "violent nationalism",[48] and said those attending the event should "not bring pro-Israel paraphernalia in solidarity with our queer Palestinian friends",[49] while "Jewish stars and other identifications and celebrations of Jewishness (yarmulkes, talit, other expressions of Judaism or Jewishness) are welcome and encouraged".[49] Palestinian flags and symbols were permitted.[50]

In response to the policy, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt stated, "It is outrageous that in preparing to celebrate LGBTQ pride, the DC Dyke March is forbidding Jewish participants from carrying any flag or sign that includes the Star of David, which is universally recognized as a symbol of the Jewish people....Banning the Star of David in their parade is anti-Semitic, plain and simple."[49] A coalition of progressive Jewish-American groups denounced the ban in a joint statement,[49] and the National LGBTQ Task Force withdrew their support for the DC Dyke March.[51]

More than two dozen Jewish lesbians and Zionist supporters brought the prohibited flag and symbol to the march. They debated the perceived mistreatment and exclusion with march organizer Jill Raney. Thereafter, DC Dyke March organizers allowed the group to participate in the march with their Jewish pride flags.[52][53]

2024 New York City


On June 27, 2024, the NYC Dyke March issued a statement supporting the safety of Jewish participants at the march and condemning the 7 October attacks. Within thirty minutes, this statement was deleted and replaced by another that referred to the first as a "mistake" that did "not reflect the official stance of the Dyke March", adding that the organization "unapologetically stands in support of Palestinian liberation".[54][55] The march also raised money for the hardline anti-Zionist group Within Our Lifetime. In opposition, a group of Jewish dykes held a separate event at the same time as the march.[55]


See also



  1. ^ Tracy, Matt (June 26, 2022). "Massive NYC Dyke March takes over Fifth Avenue". Gay City News. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  2. ^ ""Herstory — NYC Dyke March". New York City Dyke March. 2018. Re". New York City Dyke March. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Simo, Ana (February 18, 2003). ""Mexican Dykes Out for Visibility."". The GULLY. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  4. ^ Bearchell, Chris (June 1981). "Lesbian Pride March is a First for Canada". The Body Politic. Pink Triangle Press. p. 10.
  5. ^ "Lesbians Battle the Right". The Body Politic. Pink Triangle Press. October 1981. p. 10.
  6. ^ Marushka, Anna (November 1981). "Dykes Against the Right". The Body Politic. Pink Triangle Press. p. 13.
  7. ^ ""Eating Fire: A History of the Dyke March"". Queer Events. Staff. January 31, 2020. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  8. ^ Cogswell, Kelly (May 18, 2012). "The Dyke March Hits 20!". The Huffington Post. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  9. ^ Teeman, Tim (March 22, 2014). "Tick-Tock: The Explosive Power of the Lesbian Avengers". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  10. ^ "Herstory—NYC Dyke March". New York City Dyke March. 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  11. ^ ""Herstory — NYC Dyke March". New York City Dyke March. 2018. Re". New York City Dyke March. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  12. ^ Stack, Liam (June 19, 2017). "New York's L.G.B.T.Q. Story Began Well Before Stonewall". The New York Times. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  13. ^ "Herstory of the Dyke March". NYC Dyke March. 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  14. ^ Bertoni, Quinn (June 19, 2022). "The NYC Dyke March 2022". Gays in Town. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  15. ^ Lesbian Avengers (1993). ""Dyke Manifesto"". Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  16. ^ a b c d branner, amy c.; Butterbaugh, Laura; Jackson, April (August–September 1994). "There Was A Dyke March?". Off Our Backs. 24 (8): 1–2, 16-–7, 20. ISSN 0030-0071. JSTOR 20834872. LCCN 2016218537. OCLC 5729287. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  17. ^ "International march on the United Nations to affirm the human rights of lesbian and gay people; June 26, 1994, New York City. New York: Stonewall 25 Conference Committee, 1993". Michigan State University. 1993. Retrieved April 28, 2023.
  18. ^ "Dyke* March Germany". 2023. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  19. ^ "Dyke March Cologne". 2021. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  20. ^ "L-MAG über den Dyke* March Oldenburg". 2023. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  21. ^ Kühne, Anja (July 21, 2016). "Wir wollen das L ein bisschen dicker machen". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  22. ^ "Dyke* March Ruhr". 2023. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  23. ^ Pinfold, Corinne (June 14, 2013). "Community London: One week until UK's second Dyke March". PinkNews. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  24. ^ Biese, Alex (October 9, 2020). "Asbury Park Dyke March happening Sunday: 'We're still here. We've survived.'". Asbury Park Press.
  25. ^ Lydersen, Kari (June 22, 2010). "Chicago Dyke March". Time Out. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  26. ^ a b Harrison, Mason (June 30, 2010). "Dyke March winds through south side". Windy City Times.
  27. ^ Bertoni, Quinn (June 19, 2022). ""The NYC Dyke March 2022"". Gays in Town. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  28. ^ "NYC Dyke March". NYC Dyke March. Archived from the original on June 7, 2024. Retrieved June 19, 2024. The New York City Dyke March is a protest march, not a parade...in protest of the discrimination, harassment, and violence we face in schools, on the job, and in our communities.
  29. ^ a b King, John (June 28, 2014). "Dyke March kicks pride festivities into high gear". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  30. ^ Kwong, Jessica (March 9, 2011). "S.F. Dyke March Needs Funds to Keep Going". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  31. ^ a b Garofoli, Joe (June 26, 2004). "Men told not to rain on parade". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  32. ^ Reisbig, Jeanine K. (2004). "SF Dyke March 2004: Zesty fiesta of Lesbian Power, Political Commitment and Joy takes place June 26". Castro Online. San Francisco Spectrum. Archived from the original on June 19, 2004. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  33. ^ McKenzie, Madeline (June 21, 2017). "It's Pride weekend! Seattle events will celebrate diversity and community". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  34. ^ Riley, John (June 6, 2019). "DC Dyke March will protest displacement and gentrification on Friday, June 7". Metro Weekly. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  35. ^ Lang, Marissa J. (June 5, 2019). "'Pride and protest': Dyke March returns to Washington after a 12-year hiatus". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  36. ^ Laitman, Michael (July 5, 2017). "When Chicago Dyke March bans a Jewish Pride Flag, Jews should feel unsafe". The Jerusalem Post.
  37. ^ Cromidas, Rachel (June 26, 2017). "Tensions Flare After Chicago Dyke March Demands Star Of David Pride Flag Carriers Leave Rally". Chicagoist. WNYC. Archived from the original on June 26, 2017. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  38. ^ Hammond, Gretchen Rachel (June 24, 2017). "More than 1,500 at Dyke March in Little Village, Jewish Pride flags banned". Windy City Times.
  39. ^ Rozsa, Matthew (June 26, 2017). "Chicago's "Dyke March" under fire for alleged anti-Semitism". Salon. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  40. ^ Weiss, Bari (June 27, 2017). "I'm Glad the Dyke March Banned Jewish Stars". The New York Times. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  41. ^ "Dyke March: Letters to the editor, statements issued". Windy City Times. June 29, 2017. Archived from the original on July 2, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  42. ^ Cromidas, Rachel (June 25, 2017). "Photos: Chicago Dyke March Drew Hundreds To Rally In Little Village Saturday, Amid Accusations Of Anti-Semitism". Chicagoist. Gothamist. Archived from the original on July 3, 2017. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  43. ^ "Chicago Dyke March Official Statement on 2017 March and Solidarity with Palestine". Chicago Dyke March Collective. June 27, 2017. Archived from the original on June 28, 2017.
  44. ^ Gunz, Rafealla (June 17, 2018). "LGBTI Jews wary of the upcoming Chicago Dyke March". Gay Star News. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  45. ^ Kerstein, Benjamin (June 21, 2021). "Chicago Dyke March Posts Promotional Image Showing Burning Israeli and American Flags". The Algemeiner. Retrieved June 23, 2021.
  46. ^ Bandler, Aaron (June 24, 2021). "Chicago Dyke March Changes Cartoon Showing American, Israeli Flags Burning". Jewish Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  47. ^ Ziri, Danielle (June 6, 2019). "D.C. Dyke March Bans Israeli and Jewish Symbols on Pride Flags, Sparking Criticism". Haaretz. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  48. ^ a b Sales, Ben (June 7, 2019). "The controversy over the DC Dyke March, Jewish stars and Israel, explained". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  49. ^ a b c d Bandler, Aaron (June 6, 2019). "ADL Condemns D.C. Dyke March's Decision to Ban Israeli Symbols". Jewish Journal. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  50. ^ Campbell, A.J. (June 6, 2019). "The D.C. Dyke March Won't Let Me Fly The Jewish Pride Flag". Tablet. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  51. ^ Bandler, Aaron (June 7, 2019). "National LGBTQ Task Force Renounces Support for DC Dyke March". Jewish Journal. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  52. ^ Gelman, Lilly (June 10, 2019). "At the DC Dyke March, Jewish Groups Protest Star of David Policy". Moment Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  53. ^ Oster, Marcy (June 11, 2019). "Jewish Pride flags allowed into DC Dyke March after standoff". J. The Jewish News of Northern California. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  54. ^ NYC Dyke March (June 28, 2024). "A statement from the NYC Dyke March Committee". Instagram. Retrieved July 3, 2024.
  55. ^ a b Gergely, Julia (July 1, 2024). "Feeling excluded from this year's NYC Dyke March, Jewish lesbians host their own Pride party". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved July 3, 2024.

Further reading




New York City




San Francisco






Dyke March groups


United States