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Toronto Dyke March keeps Pride political

Toronto Dyke March keeps Pride political

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Toronto’s streets overflowed with women earlier today, June 30, when the 2012 Dyke March participants brought their anti-normative philosophy to Pride.

Organizers are quick to point out that the annual Dyke March is not a parade but rather a political demonstration of critical mass. This year’s demonstration, which included a two-minute die-in, snaked down Church, Bloor, Yonge and Carlton streets before culminating at Allan Gardens Park.  
 
The pre-rally, held at the corner of Church and Hayden streets, was indeed political, with Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and Sue Goldstein, of Queers For Social Justice, featured as speakers.
 
“No matter what they tell us, that perhaps we’ve achieved equality, we know that that is not true,” Wong-Tam said to the crowd.

“In 1969, when the Stonewall riots took place, the birth of the modern gay and lesbian movement, who was at the forefront?” Wong-Tam asked. “It was dykes, trans, drag queens, marginalized people, people of colour, and it continues today. We do not exclude anyone. We don’t exclude anyone from Pride. We are a loving, inclusive community and we welcome everyone.”
 
Goldstein welcomed the word queer, saying it has been excluded from Pride’s vernacular for too long.
 
“That missing word,” Goldstein explained. “Because everybody says happy Pride, like Merry Christmas, but we know our roots."

She said the fight surrounding Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) ignited a fire under Toronto’s gay and lesbian community that she hopes will not be extinguished when Pride celebrations end.
 
“We don’t want to be complicit. We want to stand up and we want to work together to get our rights back. The censorship of queers and queer issues is unjust no matter who does it, whether it’s within the community or in city hall.”
 
Goldstein pointed to last year’s developments in Tunisia, Tahrir Square and Wisconsin as grassroots political triumphs Toronto queers should look to for inspiration.
 
A group that has inspired many, Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, was selected as this year’s honoured group at the Dyke March. Xtra’s own Andrea Houston was selected as the honoured dyke and says she is thrilled to be their choice.
 
“I’m proud to march with this beautiful group of women. We’ve had a victorious year and we should celebrate,” Houston says. “But then on July 2, we dust off our glitter and we get back to fighting because we need full equality.”
 
When Houston addressed the crowd, she spoke of her part in the fight to have gay-straight alliances recognized in schools across the province, her distaste of Catholic bigotry and the need for transgender legislation at the federal level.
 
“We need it in every province in Canada,” Houston said. “I will march this year, I will march next year and I will continue to march until we have full equality. I will continue to be loud and in your face, and I’m not going to shut up.”
 
Other women were keen to speak up, too. Rachel Wilkes divulged that she came out only this year and was very excited to experience her first Pride.
 
“I just felt like it’s a good idea to come and to be involved in the community. I want to know about the issues and know what is going on around me. Everyone is in such a great mood,” Wilkes said.
 
Mother of five Ajike Akande said she brought her brood to the march so they would be exposed to powerful, unabashed women. “I want them to know that there’s a world out there of women who are active and fighting and progressive for their future.” 

For a video of the Dyke March and photos by Kyle Lasky, see below.

 

Comments

Being gay is natural
Being black, left-handed or being gay is just as natural. Bibles and the torah which includes leviticus 18:22 should be immediately banned for promoting hatred against minorities; namely the gay community and the crosses removed from all schools and churches. The evil writings in Leviticus 18:22 against gays depict; rules for temple rituals or “P” … Priestly Rules & expanded by the pope; homophobes and religious frauds to attack the gay community and never meant to apply to the public but to priests. Leviticus exists in the old testament & torah. "It is written; so therefore it shall be? We are the chosen people? Such a wicked fantasy." To see the religious lunatics manipulate government and our lives is shameful. It is a sometimes rare occurrence to fall in Love and to hold that person in your heart and be loved in return ... it is something that should be celebrated! If it is between two guys or girls all the better. It takes even more courage to defend that LOVE! How would you like it … if hate speech was directed to your brother or sister as you sat in the pew; spewed by some better than thou religious lunatic with a hateful black book about Leviticus -- under his arm? www.HolyFaux.com
Yay QuAiA
So happy to see QuAIA not only marching but celebrated by there political diversity. Just because we have our diverse Gender identities in common we don't have to sleep with Kulanu Pro Israelis. They have there space and fundraising efforts for Right wing Israeli (No cause there). And QuAIA Many Jewish supporters have a cause. Care about the oppression the Israeli Goverment and other Human rights atrocities happen in Gaza on a daily basis. Thank you for all that supports this diverse and meaningful cause. Kulanu should have such a social conscience.
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