Transblawg reports that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected the "Dykes on Bikes" name on the grounds that "dyke" is vulgar, offensive and "scandalous".
I’m sure the attorneys in question are very clever people, but brandishing a dictionary saying that the term is disparaging just isn’t good enough and ignores the fact that insults can be turned into powerful tools of self-identification through the process of reclaiming. If these bikers want to be linked with the term "dyke", it is incredibly patronising to tell them that they shouldn’t; as Charlotte said: "taking such words and turning them completely around creates a depth and double meaning that turns the pain, at least for some people, into power."
I wonder whether that’s what really worries those no doubt straight and right-thinking people of the law: the thought that lesbians might actually be comfortable with what they are and use language to assert their identity.