It’s Political. It’s Personal. The Dyke and Trans March hits the streets No, it’s not our separate parade. It’s a march. There’s a difference, and it’s political. On June 5, the streets of Pittsburgh will be flooded for the sixth consecutive year by dyke and trans individuals marching together to render visible a manifestation of diversity. The march, of course, is for all dykes and plays host to those who are either challenging or questioning gender constructs as well as the social definitions of women. We are actively untying the “straightjackets” that heteronormative/patriarchal societies have historically employed to silence us, to place us under their surveillance, and to hide us away. We are reclaiming the rights of our bodies that have been hijacked by male-centered congregations of power both within and beyond the queer community. We have stood under the umbrella of “gay” but Pittsburgh PrideMag | PittsburghPride.org
also recognize the need for a non-commercial, grass-roots alternative similar to those found at the centers of the dyke marches that take place in multiple cities around the globe since their beginning in Vancouver in 1981.
coming to the Dyke march since the beginning,” Kuti says.
Pittsburgh’s first annual Dyke March took place in 2006 in the streets of Oakland, but got its true start, according to one of its organizer’s, Eli Kuti, more intimately. “Four years ago in my living room, three women were talking and complaining of the lack of Dykes involved with pride and the lack of the political,” Kuti says. “We pretty much started calling people and put a route together and sat on CMU’s lawn and waited for more than 200 people to show up!”
“First, its political,” Kuti says. “Secondly, it’s in uniform with dyke marches all over the world; the word ‘dyke’ has power behind it.”
This year, organizers decided to include “Trans” in the march’s title. “Trans people have been
So, why the use of the word “dyke”? Why not “lesbian”? — particularly when some women of Pittsburgh have taken issue with the word “dyke’?
“I think it’s pretty clear that the whole point of the dyke march is for dykes to show that they don’t care if they offend mainstream America,” says Joey Murphy, a participant in previous marches. “Dyke” is a statement about political orientation, much in the same way that “Democrat” is. As a community, we can’t expect all women to have the same political beliefs (or even
By Becky Klink
beliefs on how to spell “wimin”). The Lesbian/Queer/Bi/Dyke/ Trans community is not a single, unified place. We exist along a wide continuum, and the only commonality we can assume to share is that we are women, who prefer women sexually — and even that is polemical at times. While we may not necessarily be marching to the same tune, or rather, for the same reasons, the collective and symbolic gathering of strength in numbers is a visual pledge that we promise to foster safety and acceptance of one another while continuing to recognize our individual differences, a sense of safety that many of us may not know in other parts of our lives. Join the Dyke and Trans March on Saturday, June 5. For more information, visit “Pittsburgh Dyke” on facebook. 32
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