A History of the Pittsburgh Dyke March

Joy and other participants in the Pgh Dyke Trans March Photo: Sue Kerr 2014

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure to participate in the Pittsburgh Dyke March, founded in 2006 by Eli Kuti and friends. I was at the first march in 2006 and many others. A few years I volunteered.

These are my own posts reflecting on the march, not a formal archive. And certainly not comprehensive. Still, it is important to document our histories. If you have content, including photos, that you’d like me to add, please email me.

The early years were in Oakland, a vibe that felt especially important and continues to be necessary to this day. The City failed to provide legally mandated protection or coordinate the paperwork properly. That’s when I tried to help, knowing some of those rules. But it was still a little terrifying to march down Fifth Avenue with a 7-up delivery truck barreling down on us, especially the parents pushing strollers. The City’s woeful response to public actions has a long history.

The march moved to Bloomfield and took on more of a suburban vibe, winding up Liberty Avenue, past the hospitals and into the park. I remember thinking it was a long walk. That felt like a barrier to perhaps older queer women who didn’t need a ride, just a reasonable route, and had a lot to teach all of us.

I also remember two someones we would call “prominent” gay male leaders who did not respect the request to march in the back with allies. One told me he was an honorary lesbian. Sigh. It was yet another example of the misogyny and privilege that still divides our community.

The march evolved into the Dyke-Trans March in 2012, then later into the Dyke-Trans-Bi March. Current organizers have gone back to the basic Dyke March with a strong emphasis that anyone who wants to be there belongs. Those two gay white men might pop up!

If you’re wondering, am I welcomed to the dyke march? Is this space for me? Yes it is!!! 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

We are reclaiming our word, DYKE.

Dyke is lesbian inclusive, trans inclusive, non binary inclusive, gender queer inclusive, agender inclusive… we are all a family under the dyke umbrella and you are seen and wanted!!

2015 was the last march I attended. I don’t know if I’ll go again just because of that long walk and the sense that this is more for younger people. I’m not 36 anymore. I think that’s always been the most glaring oversight – not finding a way to reach out to older dykes from the 70s, 80s, and 90s to include their own revolutionary and transcendent activism that got us all as far along as we are. Ageism is a destructive, self-immolating reality simply because more LGBTQ folx are living longer than ever before. Ageism is different that disability accomodation.

I also never loved returning again and again to Bloomfield. Pittsburgh is a big city with a lot of neighborhoods to reclaim. I do not yet know where this year’s event will take place, likely a tactic given how militarized all local law enforcement have been in recent days.

i hope this year is different. And I can’t wait to hear the results.

I want to say that Eli is one of the best people I know. Getting this started year after year, navigating many different expectations, and consistently showing up. I miss seeing them in Pittsburgh. We first met at The Quiet Storm where I got a powerful explanation on dyke identity. I’ve always respected how Eli could balance communinty safety with public safety officials.

This is mostly my history with the Dyke March. We need a proper history to capture all of the power, magic, and momentum of the dyke community. My history came out a little harsher than I expected, especially since I do have a lot of good memories. I’ll have to give that some thought.

The Pittsburgh Dyke March began in 2006 and continued through 2016. I am unclear about a few years. So I think this year is March #14. Please let me know if this information is wrong.

2006 – Pittsburgh’s First Dyke March: Correspondents Deem It a HUGE Success (1st)

2007 – Dyke March – Pittsburgh Style (2nd)

2007 – Me and McIntire talk about the Dyke March this afternoon (2nd)

2008 – Update on the Dyke March (3rd)

2008 – Dyke March Pittsburgh DIY (3rd)

2009 – Pittsburgh’s Dyke March is Back! (4th)

2009 – Dyke March 2009 (4th)

2010 – Pittsburgh Dyke March 2010: The Fifth Year (5th)

2010 – Pgh Dyke March 2010 (5th)

2010 – The Dyke March is on …. (5th)

2010 – Dyke March 2010 – Update (5th)

2011 – Pittsburgh’s 6th Annual Dyke March (6th)

2012 – Pittsburgh Dyke and Trans March 2012 (7th)

2013 – Save the Date: Pittsburgh Dyke and Trans March 2013 (8th)

2013 – Pittsburgh Dyke and Trans March (8th)

2014 – Joy KMT Speech at 2014 Pittsburgh Dyke Trans March (9th)

2014 – Photos from the 2014 Pittsburgh Dyke and Trans March (9th)

2014 – Four Ways to Support the Pgh Dyke and Trans March (9th)

2014 – Pittsburgh Dyke and Trans March Set for Sat June 21 in Bloomfield (9th)

2014 – Why the Pittsburgh Dyke Trans March Is Necessary For Survival (9th)

2014 – That One Time At The Dyke March (9th)

2014 – Photos from Meet and Greet (9th) and more photos

2014 – God Hates Jags (9th)

2014 – LaToya Johnson-Rainey is An Ally to the Trans Community (donated a ton of bottled water)

2015 – Dyke-Trans March (10th)* (links to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the employees are striking)

2015 – City Paper coverage of Dyke March planning (10th)

2016 – Dyke Trans March (11th)

2017 – unclear if march took place

2018 – Dyke Trans March (12th)

2019 – Dyke Trans March (13th)

2020 – no march

2021 – no march

2022 – no march

2023 – no march

2024 – Dyke March scheduled for June 8! (14th)


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