Philanthropy Friday: Philly Dyke March


Every Friday we introduce you to a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week: The Philly Dyke March is an annual rally and march to create a space that celebrates the experiences of self-identified dykes and their allies.

PDM Katie

Philly Dyke March Outreach Committee Chair Kate Hinchey

Who are you? My name is Kate Hinchey. I volunteer as the outreach committee chair for Philly Dyke March (PDM). I work as a development and communications associate at William Way Community Center, PDM’s home!

When was Philly Dyke March founded? In 1998, a small group of dedicated dykes united to organize what has become an 18-year tradition here in Philadelphia. From our founding, the organizers emphasized that the March needed to be inclusive and reflective of the Philly dyke community. Since its founding PDM has been open to anyone who identifies as a dyke. We strive to make dykes of all abilities, ages, genders, ethnicities, economic backgrounds, and any other potentially divisive categories and identities feel welcome and create a safe space for them to march with their community.

What is Philly Dyke March’s shining moment, to date: We always say that the March is bigger and better than the previous year, but I am unsure how we will ever top our 2014 season. Thanks to the hard work and generosity of a team of current and former organizers, PDM and William Way hosted a four-month archival exhibit on the history of Philadelphia Dyke March. Our co-founder, the late Gloria Casarez, and current organizer, Samantha Giusti, did an amazing job spearheading the effort and gathering so much of our history to put on display. We held a beautiful opening reception with founders and current organizers to kick-off the season. The community turned out in droves to support and learn more about Philly Dyke March. My favorite part of the exhibit was the wall opposite the pink dyke words pictured above. Gloria edited her old hi8’s of the inaugural 1998 march and our 2013 march into a longer video that was projected on the wall. That is one thing I know we will treasure forever. You can see it here.

If a check for $1 million found its way to our doorstep … we could put on PDM for free for a few hundred years if we had a million dollars! First, I would ask for an emergency meeting of the organizers so that we could decide on first steps together. No one person runs PDM and everyone has an equal vote in the goals and agenda. Our current budget is very limited so even donations of $10 really make a huge difference to us. I’m sure our priorities would be investing and saving the money in a way that guaranteed future organizers would benefit for a long time after we are gone. Pragmatism aside, we would definitely use some of the money to throw a kickass block party or huge rally for Philly dykes.

Have any special events coming up? Yup! We just kicked off our season with our happy hour in late April but there is so much more coming up. This Saturday, May 9th, Stimulus’s Back2Basics annual PDM fundraiser is happening at Tabu. May 16th is our 20th annual Mr. Philadelphia Drag King Competition. We’ve got an exciting lineup of judges and hosts (like Brian Sims and international drag king LUSTER Dela Virgion) and there are some great new drag king’s competing. Make sure to buy tickets beforehand to save money by clicking here. June 9th is our second annual sign-making and craft night, where we invite PDM first-timers and veterans to hang out and get ready for the march together.

And then there’s the big shebang (pun intended) … June 13th is the date of this year’s official Philly Dyke March. Just as in years past, we are gathering in Kahn Park (11th and Pine) at 3 pm for the pre-march rally. Our stage is a *dyke-identified* safe space, but we’re always looking for new performers. Those interested should apply here. The march steps off at 4 pm and lasts about an hour. Last year we took Market Street, stormed City Hall, then triumphed down Broad. Who knows what radical route we’ll plan for 2015, but you shouldn’t miss it. Sign up for our new mailing list to make sure you get all the details for upcoming events and more!

PDM marchingAre there ways I can contribute without giving money? Become an organizer! We are always looking to increase our amount of “dyke power” and we meet bi-weekly from late January up until the march. The organizers are made up of all sorts of dykes and there is something for everyone to do. Reach out to us at phillydykemarch@gmail.com.

I wouldn’t be doing my job for outreach if I didn’t also encourage you to RECRUIT, RECRUIT, RECRUIT! Please RSVP on Facebook, invite your friends, and tell everyone you know about PDM. We’re on Twitter and Instagram, where we love reposting pics of people in their PDM shirts.

How can I donate money? We don’t currently have an online donation page but if you are interested in supporting PDM please email us phillydykemarch@gmail.com. Otherwise, make sure you come to Mr. PDK or the march and buy one of our T-shirts. Our tees sold out last year and this year’s design is just as exciting. Don’t wait too long!