Every city celebrates Pride in its own way, and most try their best to make sure LGBTQ women feel not only included, but that they have their own space to come together and create community every year. Some Prides host Dyke Marches as part of their festivities, but for the past 10 years, Los Angeles has had, in addition to their Friday night March through West Hollywood, an all-day gathering in the park for queer women and friends, called Dyke Day.
Created as an alternative to the “corporate sponsored West Hollywood Pride parties,” Dyke Day has been the go-to women’s event every second weekend in June for the last decade, bringing out women of all ages, neighborhoods and backgrounds to gather outside in an open but fairly secluded, secure space provided by hard-working organizers like Sparrow Fox. Fox, a hairstylist at queer-owned Folklore Salon in Echo Park and self-professed “Virgo-Type A-Driver personality,” has been an organizer with Dyke Day for three years, and says she was inspired to get involved because “I really was searching for a place for myself and my skills in my community,” she says. “There are many ways to identify as a dyke, and we wanted to create a space where everyone who IDs that way felt welcome, seen and valued.”
Vanessa Craig has worked on Dyke Day for several years, and this year, created a pre-party, Lez Croix, to help bring the queer women a space to celebrate. She says Dyke Day was originally created by four queer women—Lizanne Deliz, Kat Laukat, MW Wilson, Sarah Tomchessen and Michelle Johnson—who “wanted to create a space similar to Dolores Park in SF during pride weekend, a free, inclusive space closer to home, representative of the dyke community and more welcoming to a mix of lesbian, queer, trans folx and families.”
“I think it’s great that WeHo has a huge annual festival, a parade, queens and all that fanfare, but it always seemed so far away, male-centric, and plagued by accessibility issues, monetary and otherwise,” Craig says. “And lez face it, parking was a bitch and you usually had to pee between cars on a curb—you know you did. So why couldn’t we have our own, more inclusive and accessible version of LA pride? … It’s also that one magical day of the year where you get to see people you haven’t seen in years and also realize woah, there are so many lesbians in LA, and they’re all here.“
This year’s Dyke Day will be held in Debs Park, a new location but with the same inclusive space that Fox describes as “dyke-centric, queer-affirming [and] ally welcoming.” But to create such a space takes a lot of effort on the behalf of a small committee (this year, there are only four planners), who not only have to worry about logistics such as permits, insurance, porta-potties, sound systems and food trucks, but planning fundraisers and creating partnerships with businesses to help pay for it to happen.
“We are really supported by the queer community,” Fox says. “Sometimes we receive flack for hosting fundraisers in traditionally ‘male’ spaces such as the Eagle. .. It would be so cool if there was a dyke-owned bar on the east side that we could be hosted by, but if it exists we don’t know about it. The owners of the spaces that we are welcomed into are treasures to us. We rely on their support and they come through for us year after year.”