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Celebration at this year's Dyke March
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Celebration at this year's Dyke March

by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

After the color and flashiness of the newly-risen Pride Festival (called the Broadway Festival by its organizers, mostly members of the Museum of Mysteries, and Charlotte LeFrevre in particular), the crazy quilt gathering on the lawn of the Seattle Central Community College was a bit of a relief.

Shielded from last Saturday's bright sunlight and heat, women of every race and age and ability came and sat, or stood, or leaned on each other's laps to hear speakers that ranged from one of the plaintiffs in the case to legalize Gay marriage, a woman suing the government with others to gain the benefits heterosexual people enjoy as a right of being born straight. She spoke with both candor and urgency on how she and her partner have since gotten legally married in Iowa under that state's new laws, but how she still wanted to see the legislators who have been stumbling blocks voted out in this year's election. Unfortunately, like many of those who spoke, her name was lost as she was introduced in the flurry of friends reuniting with friends they hadn't seen for sometimes a whole year and the hectic buzz of traffic and other celebrations that were going on on the Hill last weekend

After she spoke, more women joined the throng, already painting bras in rainbow colors on bare chests - probably because of the possibility of some new attention and renewed determination coming from City Hall to enforce laws regarding "public decency" in Seattle, and the huge police presence near SCCC before the march. Still, as last year, they brazenly defied the existing laws and the rule that nipples must be covered with duct tape or clothing and now shown openly in public places. This marked, as it did last year, a change in tone in the Dyke March, as in the whole LGBT movement to kowtow to authority and obey rules made before a lot of these women were born, and like last year, there were no arrests made, or even interference in the park, or as the march began, by SPD.

After a demonstration of salsa dancing, in which a large number of nimble-footed women cheerfully came forward and danced together to music from a loudspeaker put on by the Century Ballroom (which sponsors several dance programs, but particularly an LGBT night), everyone was even more in the mood to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This event that started today's LGBT movement in the late '60s and early '70s.

But the highlight for many leather-wearing, mohawked dykes was the poignant speech given by Alena Gabosh, director of the Center for Sex Positive Culture (given the familiar name The Wet Spot by those who are members and their friends), who spoke of being raised in a small town in Idaho, then moving across the country and eventually becoming the spokesperson for the sex-positive/poly/kinky community in Seattle. She also mentioned having a new local political position, something she is most thrilled about, but like other speakers, most of the particulars of that news were drowned out by ambient noise on The Hill, so if you see her, ask her about it, and I'm sure she'll tell you.

When the call to march sounded, women (and a few men, who stood respectfully behind the women, as the idea is the Dyke March remains the only one for primarily women-identified women) stepped off, some quietly drinking in the moment, some holding the hands of partners, some joyfully starting chants or using homemade instruments to make a happy, Queer noise as the march started, nearly on time this year.

It must be noted, too, that like last year (and more this year, due to an even worse economy, but lower gas prices), the ever-present Dykes on Bikes did not lead the march, but the march did start with the roar of motorcycles. These were the big, burly Harleys of the Seattle Police Department, many of whom seemed happy to be in the front spot, leading off the march, almost daring any wrongdoers to accost this large group of proud dykes and their friends. An unofficial count puts the number this year at about 300, but as the march moved up E. Pine to 12th and back to SCCC, undoubtedly that number grew in size and in diversity as it always has. A fun kickoff and for many who stood on the sidelines and commented, a welcome return of Pride to The Hill, which for a number of opinionated people watching, has become eerily absent of GLBT life of late.

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