My first Dyke March by Cat Jacquet

The first Dyke March I ever attended was in San Francisco in June 1999. I was in college at the University of Connecticut at the time and had just come out as gay sometime in 1998. My best friend Maria (also gay) and I were on a cross-country road trip that summer. We were living in Eugene, OR with her girlfriend for a few weeks and decided to make the trip to San Fran to check out Dyke March and Pride. I was so excited. I remember wearing a t-shirt that said "I'm not gay but my girlfriend is." Being a young gay person, I also proudly wore my pride rings around my neck. I'm pretty sure the march started from Mission Dolores Park. We got there and I had never seen so many queer women in my life. It was AMAZING. And just so affirming. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of queer women. Within the first 15 minutes of being there, I swore to myself I would go back every year (I haven't been since).  We gathered in the park and I walked around, amazed at all the people. We got some signs (I can't remember what they said -- I think something about bringing down the patriarchy). And we marched. We filled up the streets. Sometimes drum circles would gather and we would have to go around them. The march ended where it started in Mission Dolores Park and we listened a series of speakers. I am 99% positive that one of them was Ruth Ellis, the oldest living lesbian at the time. She was 100 years old that year.