In 2013 over 400 passionate participants took to the streets of Long Beach for the city’s first annual Dyke March, a rallying call to appropriate a once-demeaning slur and an effort to “increase lesbian visibility and support the rights of all women regardless of labels, including bisexual and transgender women."
The first official Dyke March in the United States took place in April of 1993 in Washington D.C. and ran alongside the National March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Equal Rights and Liberation, according to organizer Denise Penn. Penn told the Post in a 2013 interview, “Women have come to understand that discrimination based on one's perceived gender is an issue that is systemic to the oppression of LGBTQ people.”
Inspired by Women’s History Month and this weekend's Long Beach Pride celebrations, the inaugural Long Beach Dyke March was organized by the local nonprofit Artful Thinking Organization (ATO) as “not a protest march,” but a celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the D.C. Dyke March. In her earlier interview, Penn said the march is meant to be for many women who have helped the gender reach higher levels of equality, whether they identify as lesbian or not.
On Friday, Long Beach’s third annual Rally and Dyke March will take place at Bixby Park at 7PM and will pay special attention to disparities in health care, equal pay and hiring opportunities. Speakers this year will include Mayor Robert Garcia, Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal, Charlotte Laws, who authored the “Intolerant Jackass Act” to counter the “shoot the gays” initiative, revered local leader Vanessa Romain and keynote speaker Jinx Beers, who founded the Lesbian News in 1976, a publication still thriving today.
The rally will be opened with live music by local band Beachtown Poets at 6:30PM and will officially begin at 7PM. The march will begin at 7:30PM.
Following the rally and march, the After Party will feature live music from the all-girl power pop 90s cover band The Doll Parts. All proceeds from the party benefit the Los Angeles Pink Dragons, a dragon boat racing team made up of breast cancer survivors.
Organizations tabling the event will include Complete Women Care, Long Beach Law and La Dolce Vita Spa, among others, to provide information about GYN doctors, healthy living, veterans, social meetups and legal help. Kari Barba, who practices areola reconstruction and related tattoos for those who have undergone breast cancer surgery, will be tabling with her Outer Limits Tattoo studio.
The After Party will take place at 1923 E. Broadway at Cafe Ambrosia. Doors open at 8PM. There will be a free raffle and $1 and $2 drinks.