Echoing the activism that sparked the Stonewall Riots and gave birth to the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement, hundreds of people will take to the streets on Friday, June 7, as part of the DC Dyke March. “A joyful protest is the vibe we’re going for,” says march organizer Mary Claire Phillips, who likens the event to a political rallying cry. “We’ve made the point that this isn’t just a parade.”
The march carries on the tradition of the first Dyke March in April, 1993, which saw 20,000 self-described “dykes” march from Dupont Circle to the White House — although it was largely overshadowed that weekend by the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights, which attracted nearly one million participants. But similar dyke marches have continued to take place in other cities, and organizers were eager to bring it back to its roots in D.C.
Setting off from McPherson Square Park at 5:30 p.m., the march will end with a rally at Dupont Circle. Like the original Dyke March, it will be permitless — though organizers have designated a police liaison in case marchers encounter any problems along the mile-long route. It will also have a theme — this year it’s “Dykes Against Displacement,” focusing on a study showing that D.C. is experiencing the highest “intensity” of gentrification of any U.S. city, and another study that found low-income residents in D.C. are being pushed out of their neighborhoods at some of the highest rates in the country.
Marchers will also be raising money, to be split evenly among six community partner organizations that have worked on issues related to affordable housing: No Justice No Pride, Casa Ruby, HIPS, ONE DC, Black Lives Matter DC, and Empower DC.
Phillips emphasizes that the march is all-inclusive, and not just for those who identify as cisgender lesbians.
“We want to reiterate to our queer community that ‘dyke’ is a political identity: anyone who is part of a marginalized sexuality or gender identity can identify as a dyke,” she says. “It’s an all-inclusive term, and it’s for the collective queer community, and fighting until every last one of us is celebrated and feels secure.”
The DC Dyke March is Friday, June 7, from 5-8 p.m., kicking off from McPherson Square Park, near the intersection of Vermont and K Streets NW, at 5:30 p.m. Online donations benefiting partner organizations will be accepted via Venmo (dc-dykemarch) or PayPal (DCDykeMarch). Visit www.dcdykemarch.com.