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 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.

In North America, dyke marches are now held in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens in New York City; Asbury Park, New Jersey; as well as Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Long Beach, Minneapolis, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland (Maine), Portland (Oregon), San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC, and West Hollywood in the United States; and Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg in Canada. In Europe, dyke marches take place in Berlin and London.


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!"[2]

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 the demonstration.[3][4]

The first dyke march was formed in Washington, DC, during the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, and held on April 24, 1993.[5] Organized by the Lesbian Avengers, over 20,000 women participated in the march.[6][7]

Most dyke marches today occur in the month of June during Pride celebrations, which generally transpire around the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in Lower Manhattan on June 28, 1969.[8]

Dyke march events[edit]

The reason for the creation of the various dyke marches was to protest what many women saw as the control of Gay Pride events by white gay men at the expense of lesbians in general and women of color in particular.[citation needed]



Dyke March, Berlin, Germany, 2018

There is a yearly dyke march in Hamburg and since 2014 in Cologne, Germany.[9] Since 2017 also in Heidelberg, and since 2018 in Oldenburg.[citation needed]

The Berlin Dyke March has been in operation since 2013 in the LGBT-friendly neighborhood of Kreuzberg.[10] The march occurs annually in June, on the day before the Berlin Pride Parade.[citation needed]

United Kingdom[edit]

The London Dyke March was first organized in 2012 and is held each year in June.[11] 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.

North America[edit]

United States[edit]

Asbury Park, New Jersey[edit]

The inaugural Asbury Park Dyke March was held in October 2020.[12]


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."[13]

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.[14] The March was held in Pilsen in 2008 and 2009, in South Shore in 2010[14] and 2011, in Uptown in 2012 and 2013, in Humboldt Park in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and in La Villita in 2017.

New York[edit]
19th NYC Dyke March, New York, US, 2011

Separate Lesbian pride marches were held in New York City in the 1970s, but they did not become a continuous tradition.[citation needed] The dyke march was renewed by the NY Chapter of the Lesbian Avengers in June 1993, after the success of the Dyke March in Washington.[citation needed] As time passed, many members of the Lesbian Avengers became concerned that New York's Gay Pride March was losing its political edge as it became more accepted by the city and courted by corporations.[citation needed]

On the Saturday before pride, participants gather in Bryant Park as they prepare to march down Fifth Avenue towards Washington Square Park.[citation needed] The dyke march is open to everyone who identifies as a "dyke". Because of this, allies and others who do not identify as "dykes" have been asked to stand on the sidewalks and cheer on the marchers.[citation needed] Each year approximately 15,000 women attend this event.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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

The first San Francisco Dyke March was held in June 1993,[15] and is celebrated every year on the last Saturday in June.[16] The march begins in Mission Dolores Park with speeches, performances, and community networking; and ends in the Castro District.[15] 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.[17]

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,[17] exercising the First Amendment right to gather without permits and often changed its route to avoid the police.[18]

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.[19] 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[edit]

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.[20] The march, however, became mired in controversy resulting from the banning of "nationalist symbols".[21]

Incidents regarding Jewish pride flags[edit]

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

2017 Chicago[edit]

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".[22][23][24] The incident prompted widespread criticism and accusations of anti-Semitism.[25][26][27] 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.[28] 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.[29][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.[30]

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.[31][32]

2019 Washington, DC[edit]

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.[33][34] Organizers said these symbols represent "violent nationalism",[34] and said those attending the event should "not bring pro-Israel paraphernalia in solidarity with our queer Palestinian friends",[35] while "Jewish stars and other identifications and celebrations of Jewishness (yarmulkes, talit, other expressions of Judaism or Jewishness) are welcome and encouraged".[35] Palestinian flags and symbols were permitted.[36]

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."[35] A coalition of progressive Jewish-American groups denounced the ban in a joint statement,[35] and the National LGBTQ Task Force withdrew their support for the DC Dyke March.[37]

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.[38][39]

Gallery of dyke marches[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tracy, Matt (June 26, 2022). "Massive NYC Dyke March takes over Fifth Avenue". Gay City News. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  2. ^ Bearchell, Chris (June 1981). "Lesbian Pride March is a First for Canada". The Body Politic. Pink Triangle Press. p. 10.
  3. ^ "Lesbians Battle the Right". The Body Politic. Pink Triangle Press. October 1981. p. 10.
  4. ^ Marushka, Anna (November 1981). "Dykes Against the Right". The Body Politic. Pink Triangle Press. p. 13.
  5. ^ Cogswell, Kelly (May 18, 2012). "The Dyke March Hits 20!". The Huffington Post. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  6. ^ Teeman, Tim (March 22, 2014). "Tick-Tock: The Explosive Power of the Lesbian Avengers". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "Herstory — NYC Dyke March". New York City Dyke March. 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Dyke March Cologne". 2021. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  10. ^ Kühne, Anja (July 21, 2016). "Wir wollen das L ein bisschen dicker machen". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  11. ^ Pinfold, Corinne (June 14, 2013). "Community London: One week until UK's second Dyke March". PinkNews. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  12. ^ Biese, Alex (October 9, 2020). "Asbury Park Dyke March happening Sunday: 'We're still here. We've survived.'". Asbury Park Press.
  13. ^ Lydersen, Kari (June 22, 2010). "Chicago Dyke March". Time Out. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Harrison, Mason (June 30, 2010). "Dyke March winds through south side". Windy City Times.
  15. ^ a b King, John (June 28, 2014). "Dyke March kicks pride festivities into high gear". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  16. ^ Kwong, Jessica (March 9, 2011). "S.F. Dyke March Needs Funds to Keep Going". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  17. ^ a b Garofoli, Joe (June 26, 2004). "Men told not to rain on parade". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ McKenzie, Madeline (June 21, 2017). "It's Pride weekend! Seattle events will celebrate diversity and community". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  20. ^ Riley, John (June 6, 2019). "DC Dyke March will protest displacement and gentrification on Friday, June 7". Metro Weekly. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ Laitman, Michael (July 5, 2017). "When Chicago Dyke March bans a Jewish Pride Flag, Jews should feel unsafe". The Jerusalem Post.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Hammond, Gretchen Rachel (June 24, 2017). "More than 1,500 at Dyke March in Little Village, Jewish Pride flags banned". Windy City Times.
  25. ^ Rozsa, Matthew (June 26, 2017). "Chicago's "Dyke March" under fire for alleged anti-Semitism". Salon. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  26. ^ Weiss, Bari (June 27, 2017). "I'm Glad the Dyke March Banned Jewish Stars". The New York Times. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  27. ^ "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.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "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.
  30. ^ Gunz, Rafealla (June 17, 2018). "LGBTI Jews wary of the upcoming Chicago Dyke March". Gay Star News. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  31. ^ Kerstein, Benjamin (June 21, 2021). "Chicago Dyke March Posts Promotional Image Showing Burning Israeli and American Flags". The Algemeiner. Retrieved June 23, 2021.
  32. ^ Bandler, Aaron (June 24, 2021). "Chicago Dyke March Changes Cartoon Showing American, Israeli Flags Burning". Jewish Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  33. ^ Ziri, Danielle (June 6, 2019). "D.C. Dyke March Bans Israeli and Jewish Symbols on Pride Flags, Sparking Criticism". Haaretz. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ 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.
  36. ^ 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.
  37. ^ Bandler, Aaron (June 7, 2019). "National LGBTQ Task Force Renounces Support for DC Dyke March". Jewish Journal. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  38. ^ Gelman, Lilly (June 10, 2019). "At the DC Dyke March, Jewish Groups Protest Star of David Policy". Moment Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  39. ^ 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.

Further reading[edit]


New York City[edit]


San Francisco[edit]



External links[edit]

Dyke March groups[edit]

United States[edit]