I Heart WeHo Dykes
Last night I put on a white “I Love WeHo Dykes” t-shirt, merged with the throng of Dyke March 2007 attendees, and paraded down Santa Monica Boulevard, a street coincidentally named in honor of the patron saint of abused, victimized, and neglected women. It may seem strange to some that I would do such a thing given that I am not Dyke, Lesbian, or Queer. But as a woman, a West Hollywood resident, and a lover of civil rights, I cannot lie. It is true. My t-shirt is accurate. I do love Dykes. I love them for their courage, their defiance, and their sacrifice. And as women, we share a traceable genealogical line that extends beyond 180,000 mitochondrial generations, making us all grand-daughters of the same Eve-of-origin.
Moving speakers such as Jasmyne Cannick, the founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, and Ronnie Sanlo, the director of ULCA’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center, were there to remind us of the civil rights struggles of the past, and to highlight those that are to come. Given that the California State Assembly voted on Monday in support of AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, their message is timely to say the least. If AB 43 survives the State Senate and the anti-equality tendencies of Governor Schwarzenegger, it will give equal matrimonial protection and legal support to all Californians who want to marry, including same-sex couples.
While I was admittedly impressed by the passionate leadership of those such as Cannick and Sanlo, the moments of the event that I thought the most precious were those that went mostly unnoticed, those that did not have the benefit of a sound-stage, an impressive non-profit credential, or a microphone. Elder Lesbian marchers who remember the circumstances of the Daughters of Bilitis and the social context of being a “butch” or a “femme,” exuded a vigilant wisdom, their hand-holding a testament to a profound history. Young female couples who openly kissed, marked the poetic nature of such an event. Such a kiss is both beautiful because it has social and political implications that go beyond the average male-female kiss, and tragic because we as a society are not accepting enough to just let people love one another without attaching social and political implications. One day, the many little children who attended the event with their Lesbian parents will reminisce about such moments as they perform the flower-girl and ring-bearer roles at the legally-binding wedding ceremonies of their mommies.
My only disappointment with the Dyke March was short-lived. While marching on Santa Monica, I noticed that the sidewalks, which are generally busy and heavy with foot traffic, were sadly empty. For a cursory minute I thought that nobody wanted to see our hand-made posters, nobody wanted to cheer for the Dykes-on-Bikes, nobody wanted to hear these women howling “Out! Loud! Proud!” like a pack of alpha wolves come to claim their political territory. But all it took to remedy my disappointment was a quick glance backward toward the line of marches – nobody was around to see us march because everybody had decided to join us.
Photo by FemmeNoir via Flickr