Dyke March 2009

Another fine event from the Dyke March organizers.  The crowd gathered on the CMU Lawn for some socializing and networking.  The luminescent La'Tasha Mayes from New Voices Pittsburgh spoke very artfully and got the march rolling.

I posted tons of photos and tweets at Facebook.

The mood was festive, the marchers were cheerful and the weather was pretty good  – a little rainy, a little humid, but overall pretty good.  We winded through Oakland.  Traffic was pretty well behaved and the passersby were most often perplexed rather than hostile.  My friend Susan came trotting out from her store to wave hello, apron and all. 

It was a festive start to Pride.  Oakland is a much  more comfortable place to march than Downtown, but frankly Downtown is probably more impactful.  That's hard to call.  Either way, I like the event and I appreciate how hard the organizers and their sponsors (Pink Party Productions) work to make it happen. 

The frustrating thing for me is that, once again, the Dyke March was disregarded by the Department of Public Safety and people's lives could have been in danger.  They filed for a permit, but the permit officer told them to work it out with the zone commander.  Apparently, there was some issue because the police had to dedicate their resources to the Pen's fan celebrations which didn't leave anyone to provide security for the march.

Good to know we can spend money to protect chair-ignition and public urination, but not women marching for their civil rights.  Way to prepare for the G20, Chief Harper. 

That's bullshit. This is constitutionally protected speech and there is absolutely no reason the combined police forces of the City, CMU and the University of Pittsburgh could not figure this out in a reasonable way.  As it is, a group of citizen bicyclists and two dykes on bikes made it work with little incident.  The point is that they shouldn't have had to do that. 

The whole point of protected speech is that we don't prioritize drunken sports revelry over dyke marches.  In both cases, it is the responsibility of law enforcement to protect the public safety AND the civil rights of the participants.  This is especially revolting given that the Office of Mayor Ravenstahl is being lauded as a $10,000 “in-kind” sponsor of Pride for, among other things, street closings and police presence. 

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City of Pittsburgh

Yes, the Office of the Mayor put their official stamp on the Pride festivities.  I would think preventing dykes from being run over by motorists would be on the list of “to do” activities.  I know, I know.  The Dyke March is not an official Delta Foundation Pride Activity, but still .. doesn't it behoove everyone to avoid traffic fatalities during Pride Week?  Really?

It has been four years folks.  The Dyke March organizers are doing their part.  Someone at the City end needs to step up and get this fixed before it becomes an entrenched pattern of discrimination.

 

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