As the sound of motorcycles revving and the mighty pounding drums of Fogo Azul echoed through the streets at 5pm sharp on Saturday June 26th, it was the signal that the 29th annual NYC Dyke March was kicking off. Returning this year to an in person march after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the 2020 march to be cancelled, the march once again took over 5th Avenue in Manhattan heading south from Bryant Park to Washington Square Park.
The theme of the 2021 march was Black Dyke Power, and even as a joyous event, it remains a political protest march where corporations and cops are not invited or welcomed. While the NYPD does show up on the edges of the march, security and crowd management is and has always been handled by groups of dedicated marshals and volunteers who keep the participants safe along the way.
Marchers laughed and embraced along the route- couples, friends, and families all participating with radical rebellion evident in every smile and cheer. Even as Pride becomes more mainstream (read “marketable”), hundreds of signs and shirts emblazoned with political slogans left no doubt to passersby that this wasn’t just a party for the sake of fun and donning some rainbow swag, but a protest- a massive force of dykes declaring a taking back of space with bold and uncompromising queerness.
When the march reached 23rd St, things slowed to a halt as several moments of silence were observed in a powerful tribute to Black trans lives lost. As the motorcycles revved up once more to signal that the march was starting up again, this was unfortunately the point where I had to head out of the march to go to Brooklyn to shoot another Pride event. While I was disappointed to miss out on the fun of splashing in the fountain at Washington Square Park, I relished every single moment I got to be at the march amongst so many other dykes celebrating our queerness as we see fit, without the interference of corporations or cops, truly joy as an act of resistance.
Scroll down to see pics from the march (warning, some NSFW)