IT WOULDN’T BE Pride in San Francisco without certain annual events: Friday’s Trans March, Sunday’s People’s March & Rally and SF Pride Parade and Saturday’s Dyke March, marking its 31st year celebrating women, dykes and queerness.
The June 24 Dyke March, which began at 5 p.m. and followed its usual route in the Mission and Castro districts, exuded a mixture of joy, pride and social justice advocacy.
San Francisco police motorcycle officers ensured the safety of the marchers as they made their way on the typically busy streets of 18th, Valencia, 16th, Market and Castro. Members of Dykes on Bikes, a longstanding women’s motorcycle organization, also guided the attendees along the route, their revved engines a loud and proud indication that the march was afoot.
The Dyke March contingency fittingly walked and wheeled past the Mission’s Women’s Building, a community center that focuses on women’s issues. One marcher held a large flag that read “Don’t tread on my uterus” and prominently featured the reproductive organ on its fabric. Many marchers carried the orange, white and pink-striped Lesbian Pride flag, as well as those representing transgender, nonbinary, bisexual and LGBTQIA+ Pride.
Making a statement
Handmade signs of various colors, sizes and fonts were another feature in the march, with statements such as “Peg the patriarchy,” “I heart dykes,” “Queer liberation,” “No justice no peace” and “We are who we are” scrawled on cardboard pieces.
Chants, including the proud exclamation of “We are dykes!” and the “Dyke and trans rights!” demand for equality were vocalized throughout the procession.
At one point, the chant leader shouted, “When I say ‘We love,’ you say ‘dykes,’” prompting the passion-filled repetition of “We love dykes” for a short segment of the march.
Many of the Dyke March attendees wore rainbow-themed apparel and shirts with defiant political slogans or promoting related events, such as the Women’s March. Some families pushed children-filled strollers; a handful of dogs on leashes also joined in the festivity, wearing their own pint-sized Pride gear. Bubbles, smiles and laughter all contributed to a positive community vibe, the solidarity among attendees palpable.
In the Mission, crowds lined the streets, cheering the marchers on, waving Pride flags of their own and holding cups of beverages of their choice. Impromptu music and speaker setups in front of some houses blasted Dyke March-supportive songs such as Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”
‘It makes me so happy’
In the Castro, patrons at Pride hotspots such as the Lookout on Market Street erupted at the sight of the Dyke March, clapping, cheering and taking photos and videos.
“It makes me so happy seeing this,” said one bystander to their friend standing outside of Moby Dick, a popular Castro bar.
The march ended where it began, at the intersection of 18th and Dolores streets, but its dispersal was merely a segue into other SF Pride weekend celebrations, whether in nearby Dolores Park, in the Castro or elsewhere in the ultimate queer-championing and Pride-ful city.