It’s been a couple of years since the last time I marched down Fifth Avenue with The Butch Femme Society. I’m on the fence about marching tomorrow, leaning towards a no and, I’m not going to lie, that worries me. For years, my Pride “month” was a nonstop celebration from early June throughout September. Make that mid-May from my birthday and the AIDS Walk to September. NoHo Pride, Queens Pride, Brooklyn Pride, Long Island Pride, NYC Pride, Asbury Park Pride… you name it, I was there. LGBT wine tastings, cruises around Manhattan, walking tours, garden parties, white parties, BBQs at the Gracie Mansion… you name it, I was there. I also found time to volunteer (Center Media, Garden Party, book sales, painting a floor at GMHC when I worked for corporate America), do some activism, and write. I kid you not when I say that by September I needed an intervention and three months of serenity by the sea.
This year I’m not doing anything. I have older friends who tell me (a) that Pride is cyclical and people avoid going for different reasons (from the traffic being too aggravating to having kids too young to march or stand in the heat watching the March or a health scare or simply do not want to leave the house) but they always go back, and (b) that I always push myself too hard and it’s ok to take a break and come back next year at full speed.
But come back to what?! The younger generations do not use the words butch and femme. God forbid one of them identified as a lesbian. They are all queer, trans, and poly.
Being an uptight, non-fluid femme lesbian, my biggest issue with tomorrow’s Pride March is that I don’t feel represented by any of the groups marching.
I can’t march with lesbian groups run by queer women or straightbians. Since my first Pride March in 2005, only a handful of lesbian groups have marched every year. Not many are marching this year that I’m aware of. The one that comes to mind is run by queer women and at least one of them has pics of herself in bed with her bio-male boyfriend posted all over the place on social media. (Leaving aside the fact that the word queer irks me) If a lesbian group is run by women who live and sleep with men, it isn’t a lesbian group. It’s as simple as that. If you have a boyfriend at home, call yourself bisex or queer and create your own group or change the group’s name (but of course if they do that they lose the prestige of marching with one of the oldest lesbian groups in NYC). You can’t have your cake and eat it.
While they have the best freebies, I can’t march with corporations and small firms that use the Pride March as a publicity stunt while ignoring their LGBT employees and marginalizing the LGBT community the rest of the year.
I can’t march with LGBT nonprofits that systematically pay no attention to lesbian issues while embracing trans issues. Do a quick online search and tell me how many of the top five to ten LGBT centers in the US have anything remotely lesbian related on their homepages or quick-access drop down menus. You have to search their websites and go through their event calendars to find anything remotely lesbian related. Meanwhile, transgender programs are easily accessible. I don’t know how, but I have the theory that it must keep their grants money coming. Lesbians aren’t as interesting you all!
Don’t get me started with the Dyke March which in NYC is today. This year Chicago and San Francisco’s marches are on everyone’s minds because they can’t find volunteers and/or they have openly said lesbians are no longer welcomed participants. Is this a bad case of collective amnesia? The Dyke March was created by lesbians who were told by the gay community that if they didn’t like all the cock and balls, the hairy asses in assless chaps, the public sex, the open disdain for women and poc, the pornification and commercialization of lesbian/gay culture, the mocking of lesbians (who they referred to as “dykes”) and women in general, then they should start their own march. The Dyke March was started because lesbians / dykes are female-centered, because lesbians / dykes don’t fuck with bio-cocks. Patriarchy wasn’t having it then. The trans movement isn’t having it now. Queer women and so-called lesbians organizations like the Chicago Dyke March are here to tell us that they, too, ain’t having it. The organizers of the NYC Dyke March have stayed silent about these two controversies and they quietly started accepting trans marchers back in 2015.
So yeah, um, I could and probably should get down to the Dyke March today and the Pride March tomorrow, but my inner Fat Amy says mmm better not (ffw to 0:16).