My wife and I took a chartered bus overnight from Michigan to D.C. with 53 other women. It’s roughly a 12-hour journey (each way), and we were in D.C. for less than twelve hours before we had to report back to the purple bus, ready for the ride back home. The bus ride was exactly what you’d imagine twelve hours on a large, cramped, overheating bus would feel like. Add in that there were so many buses, all full of women, traveling the same route as us that the lines at the rest areas seemed a mile long. There were women everywhere, changing their clothes, hugging their friends, digging “pussy hats” out of their bags, stretching (lots of that). I brushed my teeth in the parking lot with two other women I didn’t know (hi, sisters!).
In the morning when we arrived in D.C., our totally amazing friends Cathy and Shae picked us up and drove us to Dyke Haus, where a bunch of dykes (and women from WoLF) were preparing for the day’s activities. There were so many lesbians in that house! Have you ever walked into a house full of lesbians? It’s one of the most magical feelings there is. Lesbians in every room, eating breakfast, lacing up their boots, cuddling on the couch, lesbians taking up space, preparing to take up space. One woman led a brief demonstration on march safety (thank you Rachel!), while another woman fired us up with the most perfect and powerful grounding ritual (thank you Shae!) before we gathered our signs, banners, and fliers and set off for the march.
We started our first chants as we boarded the Metro, “Lesbian! Car!” followed by an exceptional round of “THE WOMEN ARE ON THE RISE!” (thank you, Jocelyn!) in which several others on the train chimed in. We started handing out fliers as we left the Metro station, holding up our “Sisterhood is Powerful” signs as we entered the street, loudly announcing “THE DYKES ARE HERE” everywhere we went. At the front of our group, a woman held up a neon labrys that read “LONG LIVE LESBIANS!” on one side and “STRIKE FEAR INTO THE HEARTS OF MEN” on the other.
One thing (of the many, millions of things) I love about lesbians is that we know how to organize! If our group started to look thin among the crowd someone would start chanting “DYKES! DYKES! DYKES!” and we would slow down, regroup, bunch up. When we needed to change directions to get through the hoards of people, we’d shout “DYKES TO THE LEFT!” We rolled out our banners and belted out whatever chants we wanted to, all day long. We chanted in approval with signs we agreed with (“science is not an opinion!” and “fuck your wall!” and “pussy teeth!”) and with other sights we agreed with (“girl in a tree!”). We chanted things at full volume that some of us had previously only whispered in the most secret underground lesbian clubs, “FEMALE HOMOSEXUALS” and “DON’T CARE WHAT YOUR GENDER IS / MEN CANNOT BE LESBIANS.” We let out several rounds of “BIG UP THE FEMALE! POWER! POWER!” and “WE’RE NOT QUEER WE’RE LESBIANS!” and we continued handing out our fliers and marching for hours.
Several times throughout the day, I heard the crowd around us join in our chants. Most of the reactions I noticed were extremely positive; I really don’t think people expected to see a bunch of dykes marching around screaming “A BUNCH OF DYKES!” but there we were anyway, existing in public. LESBIANS! I heard a few women exclaim “my people!” and they looked at us with such joy and excitement. Some of them decided to march with us for a while. I saw several young women, maybe teens, who probably had never seen a group of lesbians screaming “LESBIANS ARE EVERYWHERE” before and their faces were lit up in awe too. Lesbians are real, kids, and we are magical, and we are everywhere.
By the end of the day I was so exhausted. It turns out sleeping on a bus, marching and yelling all day, being around tens of thousands of people, and loving lesbians so much your heart could fucking burst, is really tiring! We returned to Dyke Haus to process, laugh, hug, sit, and revel in the strength and power of our lesbian community. I am so grateful to the women who encouraged me to go to the march, and who helped me in many ways that day (thank you Susan, Sheryl, Dawn, Cathy, and Jesse!). I am so thankful for lesbian community, for the opportunity to march with my sisters, for time with lesbians I love so much. I’m already looking forward to the next march…
“THE WOMYN ARE ON THE RISE!”