Last weekend, droves of people descended on a 15-acre park in northeast Los Angeles for an afternoon of picnicking, mingling, cheering on drag performances and a puppy costume competition, and more.
Known as Dyke Day LA, this annual Pride gathering takes a homespun approach to a month typically packed with corporate-sponsored parties, parades and concerts; one organizer estimated the crowd at about 1,500. Since its first iteration in 2007, it has gone from a scrappy Eastside alternative to the spectacle of West Hollywood’s Pride celebrations to an essential — if unofficial — event on the city’s Pride calendar, open to “dykes of all genders.” (According to the organizers, that means everyone but cisgender men.)
The name asserts that a term once widely taken as a misogynistic and homophobic slur can be seen as a positive, liberating label. However, attendees were split, mostly along generational lines, about whether the word “dyke” suited the moment, when labels like “nonbinary” and “genderqueer” are used to affirm identities that are more fluid.