The Dyke March led a massive vagina past the White House. It’s still a safe space.

The annual Dyke March in New York City, 2022
The annual Dyke March in New York City, 2022 Photo: Kris Hillen

The first official Dyke March — now an annual fixture at Pride celebrations across the country — took place the evening before the March on Washington in April 1993, when thousands of lesbians organized and marched with a manifesto from DuPont Circle past the White House and to the National Mall, led by a massive vagina held aloft like a puppet through the streets of D.C. Imagine the look on both the Clintons’ faces as the organ headed down Pennsylvania Avenue.

A few months later, the New York Lesbian Avengers repeated the Dyke March on Fifth Avenue the night before the New York City Pride parade. Their “float” was a bed on wheels covered in kissing lesbians.

Almost 30 years later, Kris Hillen was in New York in 2022 for the annual dyke-themed opening act the night before the big event.

Kris Hillen's picture
Kris Hillen The annual Dyke March in New York City, 2022

“It always surprises me how many LGBTQ+ women and nonbinary folks don’t know about the NYC Dyke March,” Hillen tells LGBTQ Nation. “I went to my first one about 25 years ago. I think people don’t understand how well-attended it is. It’s massive and it’s such an incredibly safe feeling.”

“Dykes don’t have a lot of safe spaces,” Hillen explains, “and to — what looks like — spontaneously create one each year that has thousands of participants is an incredible feeling. In reality, it takes a lot of planning, but also, in its entire history, it has never had a permit. It is literally dykes taking over Fifth Avenue.”

“Also,” adds Hillen, “sex work is real work!”

Pride in Pictures is LGBTQ Nation’s annual series celebrating Pride across the country. We asked our readers to send in their pictures and stories of Pride and we got so many rainbows. Keep an eye out for more heartwarming stories to get you ready for Pride Month 2024.

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