International Dyke March in Manhattan

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International Dyke March in Manhattan


By: Najlah Feanny-Hicks

Date: June 25, 1994

Source: Feanny-Hicks, Najlah. "International Dyke March in Manhattan." Corbis, 1994.

About the Photographer: Photojournalist Najlah Feanny-Hicks is best known for founding New Jersey's Heart Gallery, a photographic exhibit that helps children find adoptive parents.


The International Dyke March is a New York City event that began in 1992 as a political protest. Organized by the Lesbian Avengers, the march attacks discrimination against lesbians. It is an illegal parade, held in June close to the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots that began the gay and lesbian rights movement.

Commonly known simply as the Dyke March, the parade involves lesbians from around the world. The marchers move down Fifth Avenue from Central Park to Worthington Square Park. Unlike the five-hour Gay Pride marathon held earlier in the week, the Dyke March is messy and militant. Groups do not march in any organized fashion and organizers traditionally refuse to apply for parade permits. New York City police provide no opposition to the march and no longer attempt to enforce the permit law.

The protesters cover the spectrum of lesbians from radical activists to stroller-pushing two-mommy families. The groups that have participated in the past include the National Organization for Women, Lesbian Avengers, Lesbian Social Workers, and female members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP). The New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, a regular participant, always issues a call for a moment of outrage to protest attacks on women with the crowd urged to scream, screech, howl, yell, shriek, wail, and stomp feet.



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The International Dyke March is a chance for lesbians to step out of the shadow of gay men. With greater financial resources and a more aggressive style than women, gay men have typically dominated gay and lesbian organizations. Although these groups are ostensibly for both women and men, comparatively few women hold positions of leadership.

In response to this male domination of the gay and lesbian rights movement, lesbians have turned to other venues for activism. In the 1970s and 1980s, they founded lesbian feminist collectives, women's studies programs at colleges, and feminist newspapers. By the 1990s, lesbians were more willing to aggressively and publicly demand lesbian rights. The Lesbian Avengers, almost entirely formed of young women in their teens and twenties, formed in 1992 to promote lesbian visibility through such actions as marches.

The gay pride parades that are held across the United States around the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots do not give lesbians the same sense of solidarity as the Dyke March. The presence of so many men, often with radically different agendas than lesbians, tends to draw attention away from lesbian concerns such as violence against women and child custody. The Dyke March draws considerable notice from the media, which helps to publicize lesbian issues.



Carter, David. Stonewall: The Riots the Sparked the Gay Revolution. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2004.

Schulman, Sarah. My American History: Lesbian and Gay Life During the Reagan/Bush Years. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Web sites

NCLR—National Center for Lesbian Rights. 〈〉 (accessed April 1, 2006).

New York City Dyke March. 〈〉 (accessed April 1, 2006).

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International Dyke March in Manhattan

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International Dyke March in Manhattan