6 Things I Saw At The NYC Dyke March
This past Saturday, the 24th annual New York City Dyke March took place on the streets of Manhattan to celebrate lesbian visibility and advocate for queer rights and community. Setting itself apart from LGBT Pride parades, the Dyke March is billed specifically as a protest march. The organizers don't get permits from the city and they don't have corporate sponsors. At a time when feminism is becoming increasingly commercialized and monetized, this is a radical act.
Long time organizer Aleks T commented on this stance in a recent interview with A Women's Thing, saying they stand against the mainstreaming of the NYC Pride Parade, whose list of sponsors include some of "the same organizations that have marginalized our communities and control our money and power." Instead, the Dyke March engaged in grassroots fundraising, which was dedicated to the victims and survivors of the Pulse shooting in Orlando this year.
At once joyous and solemn, the march included folks of all ages and gender identities and was energized by the drumming of the all-women Afro-Brazilian percussion group, Batala. Here's what I saw when I walked with thousands down 5th Avenue:
1. Solidarity With Orlando
Not only did the Dyke March raise money for Orlando, but attendees stood together in a powerful moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the massacre.
2. Femme Visibility
Femme invisibility is still an issue. Too often, queer women aren't taken as seriously or even outright dismissed both inside and outside the community. The owner of this jacket and many other attendees at the parade highlighted this problem through a variety of slogans and sartorial signifiers showing their femme pride.
3. Church Ladies For Choice
For over 20 years, Church Ladies For Choice have been fighting for reproductive rights through conservative church lady drag and infectious, subversive songs. Their hilarious rendition of "God Is A Dyke" set to the tune of "My Country Tis Of Thee" is still ringing in my ears today.
4. Signs Addressing Intersectional Issues
To raise awareness about the vital importance of intersectionality and to fight back against the white-washing of queer issues, signs addressing systemic racism and xenophobia were liberally peppered throughout the march. "Fight Machismo Not Muslims" was one of my favorites.
There was a small, sad showing of folks holding placards explaining how angry god is with queers, but as the marchers would pass them, we would gleefully shout them down or cheer in the face of their hate.
6. Lessons In Feminism 101
If there's anywhere you can learn about feminism, it's at a dyke march. One sign in particular perfectly summed up the brand of intersectional feminism that was being promoted and celebrated amongst the crowd. Young feminists take note!
Images: Author's own