New York City was a center of queer activism in the 1990s. AIDS activists and ACT UP members formed Queer Nation in March 1990 in response to increased violence against LGBT people on the streets of New York. They marched in protests of attacks, and staged “kiss-ins” at straight bars and nightclubs to increase LGBT visibility. Members of Queer Nation formed the Pink Panthers Patrol to combat homophobic violence; the neighborhood watch group conducted patrols in the East and West Villages.
The Lesbian Avengers formed in New York in 1992 with the goal of promoting lesbian visibility, in part through dramatic street theater including fire eating, which the Avengers first practiced in response to the deaths of a lesbian and gay man who were burnt to death after a Molotov cocktail was thrown into their apartment. To counter lesbian invisibility within the LGBT community, the Avengers organized the first Dyke March at the April 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, with 20,000 women joining in.
In June 1993, the Lesbian Avengers organized a New York City Dyke March the day before New York’s Pride March; the Dyke March has become an annual event. The Lesbian Avengers also demonstrated in support of the inclusion of information about lesbian and gay lives in the “Children of the Rainbow” curriculum for elementary public schools, confronting opponents of the curriculum with lesbian love songs and t-shirts reading “I was a lesbian child.”