A priest taught me that homosexuality is always wrong. Dyke March showed me that he was wrong.

Scene from Dyke March New York
Scene from Dyke March New York Photo: Elsie Carson-Holt

I took this picture at New York Dyke March last year, in 2023. I went on an assignment for the newspaper that I was interning for to photograph and interview marchers. It was the first dyke march I had ever been to and the first space that was specifically for people who identified with the word dyke.

I grew up in a very Catholic environment. I was told that the two women who lived together in a little blue house down the street were sisters. The TV was turned off if a gay couple was featured on a show or movie.

In an act of horrible timing, the first crush I ever had on another girl occurred at a Catholic youth camp, two days before the priest told all of us that homosexuality was wrong no matter what social media or the Supreme Court said.

I didn’t come out as a lesbian to my family until I was nineteen and did not have a relationship with another woman until I was twenty.

Scene from Dyke March New York
Elsie Carson-Holt Scene from Dyke March New York

This picture, thousands of people, going on for blocks and blocks, who may look and dress and identify differently than I do but still feel a connection to being a dyke, means the world to me. It was there that I talked to elderly lesbian couples for the first time and saw genderqueer families with their children.

It is profoundly inspiring to know that although I didn’t know about it, Dyke March was there all along: my fellow dykes filling the streets, chanting and drumming and pushing each other in wheelchairs and dancing and holding hands or signs or both.

This picture, and Dyke March in general, reminds me that I am a part of something bigger than myself, and though I felt like it for a very long time, I was never alone. 

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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