18th Annual

SF Dyke March

Sat Jun 26, 2010
Dolores Park
City, LGBT, Park
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Visibility is the essence of the Dyke March! On this day tens of thousands of dykes gather openly. We admire each other in our glorious variety and soak up the wild nourishment of taking over the streets!

At the Dyke March many of us experience freedom to be who we are and a safety we may not know in other parts of our lives, even those of us who live in the relatively accepting Bay Area. At the Dyke March we can bring our whole selves into the gathering: all our identities can be visible. We are from all classes, races, sizes, ages, abilities and nationalities; we can wear our hearts on our sleeves, and take our shirts off if we please!

The Dyke March, though a single day, is a year-round encouragement, a cheer, a beacon to dykes everywhere that being a dyke is needed, valued and welcome. Dykes all over the world are inspired by our message to put themselves at the center of their own lives and politics and envision possibilities for change.

We understand all too well the many pressures on dykes to blend into the background, or not claim dykeness in our own political arenas. The members of the Dyke March Committee, discussing visibility, acknowledged that there are times and places we would not feel safe wearing our Dyke March t-shirts. One member felt that visibility would hamper her career goals. Another, at times, had chosen to be invisible to avoid unwanted attention. Some of us have chosen not to wear our Dyke March t-shirts on certain occasions in order to sidestep loathing, hate, judgment and harassment. Many of us have experienced shielding our dyke identity almost as if it were an involuntary response; we are all vulnerable to reverting to invisibility no matter how out we are.

For many dykes around the world this issue is life-threatening. This year two dykes are coming from Serbia to speak on the Dyke March Stage. A representative of four dykes from New Jersey in prison for defending themselves against a misogynist, homophobic attack will update us on their case. These dykes face the very real threat of death for being VISIBLE. And thatís why we need Dyke Marches!

Visibility is an issue for all queer folks: dykes, gay men, bisexuals, transsexuals and other gender benders. What distinguishes this issue for dykes is sexism. With the rare exception of a few matriarchal societies, women have been dominated by patriarchy.
Dykes are perceived as a threat, as women who cannot be controlled. The notion of women loving women, dykes loving dykes, getting down with each other, totally turned on by each other, not needing men for emotional support or sex is such a huge threat to the dominant order that it is either treated as non-existent or abnormal. As a result we are either burned at the stake or rendered invisible.

Unfortunately the queer community is not immune to oppressing women and dykes. Thatís exactly why thereís a need for a Dyke March! As women and as dykes, our contribution to the running of the world has not been valued and our history has not been acknowledged (even within the LGBT movements). We have nevertheless made great contributions and have a rich history. Unfortunately, since that history is not readily available, many dykes are totally disconnected from our own heritage. Letís all reclaim dyke herstory and pass it on! {click here for a fabulous list of resources!}

In the United States the Womenís Liberation Movement was revitalized following the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. African-Americans were standing up, not only for civil rights, but for human rights and all oppressed people began to learn lessons about fighting for freedom. Even in the progressive movements which followed, women were oppressed by men. Women began forming women-only consciousness raising groups and other avenues to liberation. Women of color were often faced with a need to remain united with their brothers in the struggle against racism; however, the common thread of sexism did, and continues to, cross class and race lines.

Various theories and strategies began to emerge regarding the liberation of women and dykes. Among them there were and radical feminism. The women moving forward on these fronts were working, not for a movement -- they wanted a revolution! A revolution, the overturning of a web of systems (religion, culture, government) that dominate through war and violence, and are legitimized through religion, law and the writing of history which nearly always excludes women. More importantly the womenís movements had cultures and values that ran counter to those of patriarchy. Some of the most brilliant (and overlooked) criticism of cultural systems comes from feminist and lesbian artists, activists and scholars. We owe many of the freedoms we do have today to them. And thatís why we need a Dyke March!

Why BE VISIBLE? Being Visible is an act of protest! Itís an act of power! Being Visible creates community! Being Visible can save lives! Dykes attending the March, even some in the relatively accepting San Francisco Bay Area, tell us that they experience a safety not known in other parts of their lives. The more we put ourselves in the worldís face, the more we demand our human rights, the more we will get the right to live, to love, to be recognized for our contributions. As dykes we know that we cannot be free until everyone is free Ė and that includes each of us!

Be Visible! Where you can.

Be Visible! As you recognize the many ways we are made invisible! Be Visible! Take the energy of the Dyke March with you as you claim your power!


  1. Dolores Park
    Dolores at 19th Street, San Francisco, CA