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Coming back for the Dyke March

Coming back for the Dyke March

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Vaginas, politics and lots of fun at growing event
For many people, the only Toronto Pride parade is the big one on Sunday. But if you’ve never checked out the Dyke March on Saturday, you’re really missing out. The crowd is smaller and the tone is totally different, but if you’d like to see a parade that skips corporate sponsorships and gets back to the political and community-based roots of Pride, you should definitely put the Dyke March on your agenda for next year. And while you aren’t likely to see any giant floats covered in oiled-up body builders or 50 Dorothy Gales, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything attention-grabbing.
 
It’s hard not to notice when a parade stops dead. At this year’s Dyke March, a large contingent of women — each carrying a pole topped with a colourfully decorated and beautifully DIY oversized vagina — did just that. As the celebratory and eye-catching group made their way down Yonge St at the head of the march, they suddenly stopped short at Wellesley and lay down in the streets, many using their plush faux-vaginas as makeshift pillows as volunteers handed out flyers explaining to bemused onlookers that they were witnessing a Queers for Social Justice die-in.
 
“It’s really powerful, because a lot of people don’t expect it,” explained Awasis, a young woman who participated in the die-in while her group was paused at the intersection. “When you have people come up to you and say, ‘What are you doing? Why are you doing this?’ it’s a really powerful way of sending the message.” As the flyer explains, the die-in was meant to bring attention to the inequality that still exists for many queer people in Canada, including issues related to trans rights, queer refugees, sex worker rights, and the Catholic school boards' anti-GSA stance. Despite the seriousness of the issues they were campaigning for, the Queers for Social Justice were anything but a dour presence on the street; as soon as the die-in ended, they got back to dancing in the street and joyfully waving their homemade vaginas. And in case the revelry got out of hand, there were “medics” on hand. “They have safety pins and tape and stuff if we need some repairs,” Awasis explained, “'cause we do a lot of dancing and waving around.”
 
Activism and community building were the orders of the day, but both were served up fun and sexy. One of the biggest hits with the crowd was a women’s boxing league that created an actual moving boxing ring, complete with a slowly shifting roped-off square and an enthusiastic referee with a whistle and a bell. Some very fierce gloved-up ladies took turns entering the ring for brief bouts to the delight of onlookers, some of whom were probably having fond flashbacks to Tara’s very queer New Orleans kickboxing career on True Blood.
 
While the crowds definitely don’t match the sardine-tin craziness of the Sunday parade, the Dyke March clearly holds a special place in the hearts of its many enthusiastic observers. “It’s been wonderful. This is our third year,” says Christine, who attended with her partner. “This one’s larger than last year but still the same amount of fun.” For Christine, the fact that the Dyke March is on a smaller scale than the Pride parade is actually a part of its appeal. “We won’t be around for the Sunday one,” she explained. “Too many people, too hot. We live far enough away that by the time we get home, it’s on TV, and we’re cool and having refreshments.”
 
But of course, there’s no reason to make a choice between the parades. Chantelle and Bianca, who’ve proudly been participating in the Dyke March for six years were planning to come back to Yonge St again on Sunday for the Pride parade — even if the Dyke March is probably their favourite. “We’re really happy that it’s starting to get as much recognition as the actual parade,” said Bianca. “The Dyke March holds a really special meaning between me and her because we’ve been doing it for so long together,” explained Chantelle. “It’s our yearly tradition, and we can’t miss it. We don’t miss the other one, either, but I think the Dyke March is a little more special to us.” 

Check out Xtra's photos and video from the Dyke March below. 
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Comments

Quaia victory!?
Yes it seems true that Quaia managed to attack Jews / Israel successfully this year. And they managed to deflect attention from their friends around the world who openly murder us. Can you imagine it! Not one of my fellow Dykes thought it was important enough to say anything about the injustices inflicted on us around the world but instead, once again, it was all about getting Israel. Good job Quaia, hope you're proud.
Dyke March does accept corporate sponsorship
The reporter Mr. Johnnie Walker states "if you’d like to see a parade that skips corporate sponsorships and gets back to the political and community-based roots of Pride, you should definitely put the Dyke March on your agenda for next year." Pride Toronto actively solicits and receives corporate donations, which are used in part to fund and support the Dyke March. Pride Toronto receives most of its other funding from governments, who in turn get it from taxpayers including corporate taxpayers. "While the Dyke March consider themselves “principled” enough to condemn corporations, but not principled enough to refuse to receive the benefits of corporate money, they can't say they are skipping it. Toronto Dyke March organizers should clear about this, when talking to the press.
Total victory for QuAIA
The photos of the QuAIA marchers in the Dyke March say it all.
Loud & Proud
I just want to thank all the women who speak up against marginalized people, and human rights. Having a social conscience is sexy!
The Hole-y Army (Puppets)
The Hole-y Army is a large scale community art project involving textiles and performance which was created by Coral Short from Montreal and choreographed by Ariel Speedwagon from Brooklyn.

The dyke march is by nature a feminist protest march and we wish to bring the element of protest back to the march as notions of gender have radically shifted and changed in the last decade. This project was inhabited by all bodies (not just women) who have ever IDed as a dyke past, present or future.  Self identification is integral to the new generation of queers and we at The Hole-y army wanted to make sure that our marchers felt welcome at the dyke march.  We marched inclusion of all dyke bodies!

Learn more about this textiles art project here:

http://www.facebook.com/The.Hole.Y.Army

or here...

http://www.curvemag.com/Curve-Magazine/Web-Articles-2012/Coral-Short-Brings-the-March-Back-to-Dyke-March/

View 100 soft sculptures here: http://hole-y-army.tumblr.com/.

http://www.coralshort.com/

http://www.arielspeedwagon.com/
Community Power!
the Dyke March was awesome this year and it seemed bigger than last year too. Out and Out was happy to be there showing our support.
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