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Photos: Chicago's 20th Annual Dyke March Was Queer AF, And It Was Glorious

By Rachel Cromidas in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 26, 2016 4:02PM

It's been a painful month for the LGBTQ world, as we collectively mourn one of the largest mass shootings in the U.S. and turn outward, donning our Pride Month rainbow-best and asking how we can prevent something so horrific from happening again.

Chicago's Dyke March knows the struggle. The annual parade and party, now proudly in its 20th year, has long been preoccupied with how to make queer communities safer, more inclusive and in touch with their activist roots. It's organized by queer people of color, non-binary folks, Black Lives Matter organizers, prison-abolitionists, Humboldt Park residents and, of course, dykes (dyke is commonly known as a slur, but has been reclaimed by many lesbians to celebrate their identities).

The Dyke March's attendees are not predominantly cis or white, and that feels like a significant departure from the annual Pride Parade. Sunday's Parade serves as an inspiring symbol of the progress of the LGBTQ-rights movement, but also faces criticism for catering to corporate pinkwashing and devolving into a rainbow-striped St. Patrick's Day, its history as a transgressive political act lost on many of the one million revelers who will crowd Lakeview Sunday afternoon.

The sense that the Dyke March was a haven apart from traditional Pride Parade festivities was evident to many attendees Saturday afternoon, as they gathered on Division Street and made a short march into Humboldt Park for an evening-long celebration with music, food and dancing. References to the Orlando shooting, including photos of the predominantly Latinx people who were killed, and signs that said "rest in pride" were as prolific as rainbow flags. A booth sold shirts that said "post gender."

We're excited to join the thousands of rainbow-emblazoned partiers all over Chicago for Pride Sunday, but we're also so grateful to Dyke March for giving us the community, solidarity and space to grieve we needed this weekend.