Skip to main content

The Dyke March was canceled. Queer SF showed up to Dolores Park, anyway

Two women wearing colorful outfits are kissing at an outdoor event. The woman on the left has short white hair, and the one on the right wears a hat and holds a rainbow fan.
The Dyke March’s abrupt cancellation left a void in the Pride Weekend calendar, but thousands of people showed up at Dolores Park, anyway. | Source: Estefany Gonzalez for The Standard

Judging by the sight of Dolores Park in San Francisco’s Mission District on Saturday, you would never know that the Dyke March—a key element of the city’s annual Pride Weekend festivities—had officially been canceled only days before.

Barely 18 hours after thousands of Trans March participants set off from the same park on their way to the Tenderloin Friday evening, fresh waves of thousands more LGBTQ+ people, their friends and allies spread blankets on the grass for a massive afternoon picnic full of rainbow flags, snacks and the unmistakable clacking of Japanese fans. 

In some ways, the scene was much as it always is on Pink Saturday, the day before the official San Francisco Pride parade.

A “Dykes Only” quadrant—marked off with yellow caution tape that also read “Dykes Only”—took up, with people from all walks of life both inside and outside the perimeter. 

Two people sit on grass with a rainbow flag behind them, one holding a can. They are smiling, dressed casually, and palm trees are visible in the background.
Jessi Ruiz, left, and Angela Rubalcava, right, pose for a portrait at Dolores Park with a rainbow Mexican flag on Saturday. | Source: Estefany Gonzalez for The Standard

But the march itself, an annual tradition since at least the 1990s, was a victim of intra-community disputes and a loss of institutional knowledge after several longtime organizers either left or died, as KQED first reported.

Still, people were there to have fun in the sun. 

The image shows a sign with colorful text reading "Return Dyke Day to Dykes" with rainbow symbols, held by a cone on a grassy field with people in the background.
People sit next to a sign reading “Return dyke day to dykes” at Dolores Park. The Dyke March is a Pink Saturday tradition that goes back to at least the 1990s. | Source: Estefany Gonzalez for The Standard
A person lounges on a colorful inflatable unicorn float, holding a drink. They wear a black shirt with white text and have purple glasses and glitter on their face.
Imani Brown sits on an inflatable unicorn at Dolores Park, which she and her friends were still trying to decide on a name for. | Source: Estefany Gonzalez for The Standard

Imani Brown, a Bernal Heights resident and fundraiser for a children’s hospital, was wearing an “Everybody’s Favorite Lesbian” shirt and chilling in an inflatable unicorn that she and her crew had not yet settled on a name for. March or no march, Brown said, the day was essentially Christmas for her. “I come every year. I come to be here with my friends and family.”

A smiling person with glasses and a denim jacket stands outdoors. Behind them, a sign reads "Lemonade for Van's Top Surgery" in colorful letters.
Dan Clauson poses for a portrait in front of their pop-up lemonade stand, which they were using to raise funds for a gender-affirming medical procedure. | Source: Estefany Gonzalez for The Standard

Just down the hill, Dan Clauson and two friends were selling lemonade for a specific cause: Clauson’s forthcoming top surgery, a gender-affirming procedure that can be a daunting financial challenge for a young artist working multiple gig jobs. 

“I even have insurance that technically covers 70%,” Clauson said, “and I still owe $5,500—and that’s without anesthesia!”

Two smiling individuals are dressed colorfully at an outdoor event beside palm trees; one in a green mesh outfit with a pink hat, and the other in pink attire and a cowboy hat.
Derek Cousineau, left, and Freddy Coronado pose for a portrait in their colorful outfits at Dolores Park on Saturday. | Source: Estefany Gonzalez for The Standard

A potter and ceramist who lives in Sonoma, Clauson is also facing the prospect of being out of work for at least four weeks during the recovery process. By shortly after 1 p.m., people had Venmo’d about $90, with more in cash. 

“I don’t have a job that gives me paid time off,” Clauson added, the very picture of good spirits all the same.

A group of people are joyfully dancing outdoors, wearing colorful outfits and sunglasses, amidst a crowd on a sunny day, creating a lively and festive atmosphere.
People break out into a dance party at Dolores Park on Saturday | Source: Estefany Gonzalez for The Standard

While Pink Saturday’s festivities are anything but competitive, it was hard not to award a prize for Most Adorable Setup to two South Bay couples—Shaf Khan, Hope Donovan, Chika and Chen Jiang—who were having their own magical tea party for four, complete with iridescent goblets, charcuterie and dried flowers. This would be their only explicitly queer event of the weekend, as they were otherwise prepping for a big anime convention in Los Angeles next week.

I’m the tablescapes guy,” Khan said of the design. “I really like parties and decorations. … There’s such a small amount of work you have to do to enhance the experience, right? And I think that’s so queer to, like, put that little extra polish into something.”

Astrid Kane can be reached at