Photo courtesy of Lex Non Scripta.

Unhappy with the re-routing of the Dyke March on Saturday evening, some in attendance defied the changes and followed the old route. Later, others also celebrated at the now closed Lexington Club, a decision that put the participants at odds with police, according to police and neighbors.

The splinter protest – known as “Take Back the Dyke March” was organized via Facebook by a “radical pissed off contingent of the Dyke March,” according to one organizer, Joey “Cupcake” Stevenson.

“The splinter march will follow the original protest route, reclaiming Dyke March as a political action, centered in radical politics and solidarity with communities experiencing displacement and racist police violence,” said a press release made by the group of organizers on Facebook.

The splinter protest marched north on Dolores Street to 18th Street, east on 18th Street to Valencia, and then turned on Valencia to 16th Street. This route passed two important landmarks: the Women’s Building and the Elbo room, the location of the now-closed lesbian bar,  Amelia’s.

The splinter march was first reported on SFist.

The planning committee of the Dyke March said on its website that the changes in the route leaving out the two sites were made for logistical reasons.

The day before the march, the organizers put up a Facebook post imploring participants to stick with their plan. “We are fighting against the same things – loss of dyke, queer, womyn, female-bodied spaces, displacement of women and queers, the patriarchy that keeps us down,” they wrote.

“We are extending an olive branch. If your contingent is at all interested in marching along side us, as a group that also shares our vision and supports the Dyke March, the Dyke Movement, all the things that we all have in our hearts, that will make a profound statement about our ability to come together and fight for justice for our community,” the post added.

Stevenson agrees that they are all on the same side, but still felt it was important to reclaim the old route. She wrote in an email to AfterEllen, which she forwarded to Mission Local, that she was very pleased with the turnout, and was impressed by the thousands of people that showed up.

Afterwards, a group of people also decided to gather outside of the former Lexington Club on 19th Street and Lexington Street.

Anthony, a resident of Lexington Street who declined to give his full name, said that he heard the protesters chanting and heard the police, but eventually heard the police leave and heard the music go back on.

Two people were cited and released at the scene, police said, which means they got a ticket for a misdemeanor and may have to appear in court. One 24-year-old was cited for battery on a police officer and for obstructing police officer duties after they hit the police officer with their arm while the police officer was trying to get him into custody, according to police. A 26-year-old was also cited for obstructing police officer duties, as well as vandalism.

Sign put on the window of the now-closed Lexington Club. Photo by a resident of 19th Street.

Videos taken by one of the neighbors show people dancing in the street, then show police standing in the street with protesters on the sidewalk, and later show three police trying to restrain one protester.

Police said that it appeared 40 to 50 people ignored this plea and showed up at the now closed Lexington Club, at 19th and Lexington, to recognize the queer landmark.

The group left signs and graffiti on the window and door of the Lexington Club, which was cleaned up by Monday.

Photo by a resident of 19th Street
Photo by a resident of 19th Street.

This story has been corrected: an earlier version conflated the activity outside of the Lexington Club with the splinter march. 

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6 Comments

      1. There is indication in my social network that at least one of the people arrested was actually a trans woman and a dyke, and this article is misgendering her. Seriously? May I strongly recommend at the very least using gender neutral language to refer to those arrested until you have a bit more information? When trans dykes are out in the streets and getting picked by cops out of a crowd that is an extremely relevant detail, no less it is extremely trans misogynist to erase the identities of trans women as making up a large part of this dyke split off march and ensuing celebrations.

  1. Hi, there’s a lot of errors in this article. The first is that the organizers of the Dyke March are conflated with the organizers of Pink Saturday, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Dyke March is never and has never been organized by the fabulous and charitable drag queens, the Sisters of Perpetual. The Dyke March is s separate event and has always been organized by and for dykes.

    The second error regards very bad reporting on the splinter march. The splinter march did not march to the Lexington and did not have any bad encounters with the police. The splinter march started at 19th and Dolores, marched to 18th and Dolores, marched down 18th to Valencia, Valencia to 16th, and then took 16th up into the Castro. This is the route we have followed for many years, and it takes us past important cultural and historical institutions like The Women’s Building and the Elbo Room (which was formerly Amelia’s).

    The splinter march was also huge!! I was told at one point that it stretched back as far as three blocks and I would guess contained several thousand people. The splinter march was formed around the flash point of the time of the march being moved earlier and the route being. The splinter march was inspired by the frustration that dykes are feeling about loosing queer space and our homes through being priced-out and evicted out of the city. If you would like more and better information, we have a media person, Joey Cupcake who could give you more details about the march.

    Following the splinter march, a small group of people decided to gather in front of the Lexington and try to start a dance party in the streets. This is the group of 40-50 people that the police were talking about, although I was there at different points, and it never looked that big to me. Some of the protesters were being antagonistic toward the police and the police had a very aggressive reaction and hurt a couple of people who were there.

    It is very wrong and very inaccurate, though, to conflate the people who gathered in front of the Lexington with the splinter march that formed in response to the route changing. The splinter march was collectively organized online in the three days proceeding the march, had a defined route and had no negative interactions with police and was several thousands of people in size. The group that formed in front of the Lexington organized pretty spontaneously in the hours after the splinter march had ended and had pretty pointed negative interactions with the police and was probably about 30 people, at the largest.

    It would be great if you did a story on the splinter march. Please let me know if you need help getting in contact with Joey Cupcake, although I think she’s probably easy to find on FB.

    1. Thanks Carly. The story author will be in touch and we’ll see about making some corrections.

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