Pittsburgh's 2011 Dyke March is set for Saturday, June 18 from 2-5 PM in Bloomfield. The March first relocated to Bloomfield in 2010 and enjoyed a successful march with a lot of community visibility. 2010 also marked the first year the Pittsburgh Police provided appropriate protections which enhanced the experience of all marchers. What an awkward sentence! It took a lot of prodding of public officials to get the safety of these marchers on the radar and even more prodding to provide the actual police protection. I'm hopeful the prodding becomes less necessary, particularly given the prodding of City Councilman Patrick Dowd to challenge perceptions of police homophobia. One might say this is a litmus test … can the police pull this off without being prompted?
To be fair and accurate, last year's police detail were respectful and fine. One officer had an “a ha” feminist moment. They addressed some unruly teens and everything was pretty lowkey. Here's my take on the 2010 March.
The march kicks off with a rally at Morrow Triangle Park at 2 PM. The march commences at 3 PM up Liberty and over to Friendship Park. Dykes and dyke supporters are encouraged to bring picnics to enjoy at the park after the March.
Belvedere's is hosting the post-Dyke March party from 9 PM – 2 AM.
My understanding (my opinion, not that of the organizers) is that this is an important event because of the visibility. The growth of the march in 5 years is a testament to the emerging visibility of dyke culture and women in the Pittsburgh queer community. I've probably commented every year on how pleasantly surprised I am to see such an array of participants.
I suggest you visit this website for more information on the history and meaning of the dyke march.