It hasn't exactly been the most organized and controversy-free event of the Pride Season, but this year's Dyke March is apparently coming with some extra organizational turmoil.

As KQED reports, members of an organizational committee for the annual Dyke March have all dropped out, amid some "inter-community conflicts around racism and trans-inclusion." There have also reportedly been some deaths among the group's leadership, and some members were simply burned out.

A new committee has apparently formed and was meeting for the first time today, but they decided, per KQED, not to formally hold a march this year, focusing on recruiting supporters and sponsors for next year. The official Dyke March website still shows information from 2023's march.

"Marginalized groups [and] communities don’t always have the time and resources available to get through difficult times, such as reviving after a global pandemic,” says a rep for the march, M Rocket, in an emailed statement to KQED. “Many of us are working class, holding down multiple jobs to stay afloat in one of the most expensive cities in the country."

It has been Pride Weekend tradition since 1993, when the first Dyke March tromped through the Mission District. It was always a grass-roots, protest-like affair, in keeping with the origins of Gay Freedom Day celebrations, and helped establish visibility for the Bay Area's large and proud queer and non-binary, female-centric community.

The name itself, Dyke March, embraces and owns the old epithet for queer women, and was indicative of a punk, Gen X lesbian attitude — a fuck you toward discrimination and anyone who would try to use the word "dyke" pejoratively.

The first dyke marches all occurred in June 1993, basically simultaneously in New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta. They were launched by the group Lesbian Avengers, who had marched a few months earlier at the massive March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, with the New York chapter of the group spearheading the effort.

Here in San Francisco, the Dyke March showed some signs of splintering almost a decade ago, with a renegade second march breaking away from the planned route in 2015. Marchers called the splinter march an act of defiance "in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and in protest against the displacement of people and queer community institutions in San Francisco," and the splinter group vowed to "take back Dyke March" from forces that were trying to make it less of a protest.

At issue, at that time, was an agreement by the official organizers to start the march two and a half hours earlier than usual, at 3:30 pm. That agreement, forged in solidarity with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the city, was made in an effort to address the crime that was threatening Pink Saturday in the Castro, which traditionally happened every Saturday before Pride. Like Halloween in the Castro, Pink Saturday was threatened with cancellation because of shootings and crime it had attracted in recent years. That cancellation ultimately came to pass in 2016 after a subdued, daytime version happened in 2015.

But many Dyke March participants wanted to flout the agreement, march off on their own, and disrupt traffic as was tradition — instead of following a permitted and sanctioned route.

That happened, and it led to some chaos and scuffles with police, as well as a couple of arrests.

The following years saw the march itself shrink in size, even though the traditional daytime gathering in Dolores Park has remained pretty huge every year, except for 2020. The 2019 march drew thousands, but by the time it made it to the Castro it was not the large and loud affair it traditionally was, with the bevy of Dykes on Bikes barely there.

In 2023, a march that was perhaps about two blocks long marched up from the park into the Castro, but it also seemed like a subdued affair. The march organizers previously announced that they would not be holding an official rally in Dolores Park as they had done previously.

Another renegade march is likely to take shape on Saturday, as KQED notes. And if it gathers steam and moves through the Mission and Castro, it would be more in keeping with the original Dyke Marches — though there's something to be said for organizing and making sure people know where they're going.

First, on Friday, the 21st annual Trans March will start with its own rally in Dolores Park, and at 6 pm will proceed on its usual route to the Transgender District in the Tenderloin. It's the 21st march but this is the 20th anniversary for the event, which first happened in 2004.

The Civic Center Pride celebration will be ongoing Saturday and Sunday, and Sunday's Pride Parade starts down at the foot of Market Street at 10:30 am.

Related: SF Pride Hopes to Have Legal Cannabis Sales and Smoking at Civic Center Plaza Party

Photo: Jay Barmann/SFist