“It’s the Whole Earth Catalogue for politicos.”Wes “Scoop” Nisker, author of Crazy Wisdom
The direct action group Lesbian Avengers was founded in 1992 by longtime New York lesbian activists Ana Simo, Sarah Schulman, Maxine Wolfe, Anne-christine D’Adesky, Marie Honan and Anne Maguire, who focused on issues of lesbian survival and visibility in public life. Their goal: avoid “stale tactics” and create daring and participatory confrontation that flaunts “lesbionic outrageousness” instead. At its peak mid-decade, the Avengers had more than fifty chapters worldwide. At the NYC memorial of a lesbian and a gay man, both killed by skinheads throwing a Molotov cocktail into their Oregon home, the newly organized Avengers ate fire and chanted, “The fire will not consume us. We take it and make it our own.” Fire eating has since become an Avenger trademark. Their most enduring legacy, however, is the Dyke March, still held across the country annually one day before the Pride Parade. The first Dyke March, organized without a permit in Washington, D.C., on April 24, 1993, in collaboration with ACT-UP and other Washington, D.C., area groups, was “the largest lesbian event in the history of the world,” according to Sarah Schulman.