What you can do
Dyke March London (22 June 2013) © Nicola Jones

Dyke power!

I haven’t always had a special connection to or enthusiasm for the word 'dyke' and all it encapsulates.

There was a time when I found it too jarring, too ‘-in-your-face’ and too closely linked with derogatory comments from classmates at my all-girls school or from men I’d turned down before I came out.

In those latter instances, it was usually (actually, always, in my experience) preceded by the f-word. It was positively spat out, as if whoever was speaking couldn’t bear to have that word sit in their mouth for more than a few seconds.

But as I’ve grown older and grown into myself, it has become just one of the many words I use to describe my identity, alongside queer, gay, lesbian, feminist and soft butch, all of which might come first in the pecking order depending on how I’m feeling on that day. 

I love the power of it, the abrasiveness of it...

I love the power of it, the abrasiveness of it, the juxtaposition of the fact that it calls to mind (supposedly) ‘masculine' attributes like strength, toughness, arrogance, being forthright, not giving a damn.

And yet it is an identity so plainly, unabashedly, unequivocally owned by queer women. 

The refreshing bluntness of this descriptor makes me proud. It’s so bold and unapologetic in a way that I’m still aspiring to get to.

So to hear that Facebook is allegedly banning people for using the word ‘dyke’ not as hate speech, but in a positive way, on their own (often non-public) profile pages, is extremely disappointing.

Let us self-identify, let us speak, let us be powerful, let us be strong.

Let us self-identify, let us speak, let us be powerful, let us be strong.

I know it’s a word not everyone feels comfortable using. But whether it’s something you would choose to identify as or not, Facebook are stripping people of the ability to reclaim, love and embrace this word, and I would like to see them work harder on differentiating hate speech from social, political or personal expression.

Especially during Pride season.

Dyke Power!  

See which Prides Stonewall will be at this year