[Ed. Note, this is a guest post from Nicole Bedera. Nicole is a sociology student at Westminster College and an LGBT and women’s rights activist.]
Earlier this week, my partner and I poured over the schedule of events for this weekend’s Pride celebration. When we learned about the DYKE and Transgender March, we were incredibly excited. Lately, we’ve been feeling like lesbians have been a little left out of the LGBT rights movement. For instance, George Takei has taken a permanent spot on the Howard Stern show, but there aren’t any recurring lesbian roles on primetime TV, my partner and I still get howled at when we walk down the street, and none of our gay male friends even want to talk about these issues.
The DYKE and Transgender March seemed like the perfect solution to this feeling of exclusion.
But then another thought entered my head: isn’t the pride parade supposed to include a dyke and transgender march? Of the evermore popular LGBT acronym, half of the letters are looking to a different event to get some recognition. What does it say about pride parade events that lesbians and transgender individuals need an additional march to feel visible?
Even though the first national DYKE March was twenty years ago, lesbians are still struggling to get attention in the LGBT rights movement. Flip through the next gay magazine that you find and take a look at the advertisements. Most of them will feature and target gay men because the writers and advertisers assume that, just like straight women, lesbians will have a higher tolerance for being left out and still remain interested and active. Lesbians all over the Salt Lake valley read Q and The Advocate, but when was the last time you saw a gay man flipping through a copy of Curve? And if there isn’t a strong lesbian presence in LGBT literature, the transgender community has been almost entirely left out.
But this isn’t about a bunch of magazines or where we spend Saturday afternoon. Regularly pushing aside the LBT to let the G take center stage has serious ramifications for the communities being overlooked. In Utah, almost a third of college-aged rape victims identify as lesbian or bisexual. The transgender community still has trouble finding a safe bathroom.
This Pride weekend, I intend to join the DYKE and Transgender March at the capitol, but I hope that we won’t always need our own event. I hope that our issues can join the rest at the forefront of the movement. In the interim, I hope that gay men will support the LBT members of the queer rights movement not just by rallying around our marches, but by making more room for us, our voices, and the issues that we care about in mainstream LGBT culture.