The annual Philadelphia Dyke March will step off at 4 p. m. June 12 from Kahn Park, 11th and Pine streets, with an expected attendance number triple that of previous years.
The march brings together women of all backgrounds — those who identify as dykes, lesbians, queers, femmes, butches and any other label — for an afternoon of women-organized activism.
Morgan Levine, one of this year’s organizers, said the event is meant to empower a community that often feels marginalized in traditional Pride celebrations.
“The mission of the Philly Dyke March is to provide an alternative to the corporate-sponsored, gay-male-dominated Pride festivities by celebrating womyn identities in all our beautiful diversities, while acknowledging the activist endeavors and struggles of the dykes who have worked hard and continue to work hard to bring us to where we are today,” she said.
Levine said the planning process for the 12th incarnation of the event can be summed up in three words: recruit, recruit, recruit.
Levine, co-producer of the monthly women’s parties Stimulus, which just celebrated its first anniversary, and Arouse, said her organization has helped to get the word out about the event to their network of supporters, and she expects to see up to 500 people at this year’s march.
“Our attendance this year is going to vastly exceed any prior Dyke March in Philadelphia herstory,” Levine said. “As always, the planning process is a lot of work, and more importantly, a lot of fun.”
The Dyke March emphasizes the unity of the women’s community in an environment Levine said is rife with pride.
“Dykes who have marched with us in the past have told us how great it is to feel a sense of solidarity with such a large group of womyn peers,” she said. “It’s a rare and special gathering that only happens once a year and nobody in Philly brings the radical lesbian community together the way the Dyke March does.”
Before setting off throughout Center City for the march, attendees will gather at 3 p.m. at the park for a rally and return afterward for live music and performances.
Among this year’s speakers and performers are Gloria Casarez, the city’s director of LGBT affairs, activist Soda Nobuhle, Liberty City Kings, LYFE Dance Troupe, singer-songwriter Anomali, poet Innocence Bello, singer-songwriter Danie Ocean and headliner spoken-word performers Pens, Pussies and Politics.
“Expect to be inspired by our poets, musicians, speakers and by our spirited enthusiasm toward the urgent necessity for such a beautiful event,” Levine said.
This month’s Arouse, from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. at Marathon Grill, 1818 Market St., will serve as the official after-party for the march. Attendees who wear Dyke March shirts will get in for $3 before midnight, otherwise the cover is $5.
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.