This weekend was a whirlwind! This was my first time in New York during Pride Month so there was a lot of new experiences for me– most notably the 20th Annual NYC Dyke March on Saturday, June 23rd. As a volunteer marshal, my job was to basically just to help block traffic, make sure the march went as planned, cheer people on, high-five people, etc. I had been going to planning meetings occasionally for the past couple months in preparation for Saturday. We marched from Bryant Park, near the New York Public Library to the fountain in Washington Square Park. Overall the march went really well with no obstacles, issues with the police, or fights. Technically the march is a protest without a permit, so it’s illegal and an arrestable action. However, the march has been happening for 20 years now so it’s really become a historic event. The police that I encountered were all pretty supportive and understanding.
At the core of the Dyke March mentality is the idea of protest – against discrimination, harassment, violence, and inequality in various settings: schools, workplaces, family, social, in the streets, etc. It is a declaration of our right to exist, to own the street, to feel liberated and to be oneself in an environment of inclusivity and community. It’s the day that the minority seizes the center. Gabrielle Korn, who is on the planning committee said to the Huffington Post, “It’s important for dykes to claim space and to take up as much space and be as loud and as visible as possible. I think you have to be as public about what you’re fighting for as you can be.” You can read more of what she said here.
My experience of marching was incredibly powerful and surprisingly emotional.This time last year I was living in the Midwest (where I grew up), and on Saturday I was surrounded by 20,000 women taking over Fifth Avenue– what? If you didn’t come march with // support from the side this year, be sure to come next year!
Today is National Coming Out Day! National Coming Out Day was declared in 1988 in celebration of the Second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights which occurred one year earlier, in which 500,000 people marched on the capital. In honor of National Coming Out Day, We Are the Youth will be posting coming out interviews in a continuing effort to combat stigma, highlight the diversity of the LGBT community and give queer youth a space to share their stories.
The premise of National Coming Out Day is simple:
Political and social change towards freedom and equality comes from people speaking out about their support for freedom and equality, being proud of who they are, and putting names and faces to the LGBT community and the friends and allies who support that community.
Why? Because it’s harder to be a bigot or a homophobe or a bully when you know that some of your closest friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors – and some of your favorite actors, artists, athletes, musicians, politicians, and cultural leaders, as well as many of the military servicemembers defending your country…are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. (Gayapolis News)
To share your story contact: firstname.lastname@example.org