Unlike the recent G20 protests in Toronto, the annual Vancouver Dyke March on Saturday (July 31) will be an event where “nobody should be hurt at all,” according to its organizer.
“I think the worst thing we’ve ever had is one time a kid fell in the playground and scuffed his knee,” Vancouver Dyke March president Sam Levy told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “And another time a girl got stung by a bee. Certainly nothing like any of the [G20] protests. It’s more like a Pride parade, in that it’s a gathering of people celebrating life, family, and those things. The big difference is we don’t have any motorized vehicles. So we are not a parade; we are a procession, I guess.”
Levy said the seventh annual march in Grandview-Woodland will be “celebratory” in nature and free of “big political statements”.
“It’s not typically filled with any type of political messaging other than the messaging that’s inherently political about being queer, lesbian, transgender, you know, dyke, and being a part of that community,” she explained. “Outside of that base-line statement about being a part of that community, it’s really not a political march; it’s much more of a celebration. It’s an event for women and their supporters and their families and their kids and their dogs.”
At noon on Saturday, the march will begin at its usual starting point, McSpadden Park, located at East 5th Avenue and Victoria Drive. From there, it will proceed along 5th Avenue to Commercial Drive, where it will head north.
Traditionally, the post-march music festival has taken place in Grandview Park, but this year it’s been moved to Victoria Park, just east of Commercial at Grant Street and Salsbury Drive. According to Levy, the location is notable because this is where the first march kicked off, in 2004.
Coalition of Progressive Electors councillor Ellen Woodsworth, who lives near Grandview Park, told the Straight she will be there this weekend. “I’ve been out since 1970, so I understand the importance of being supportive,” Woodsworth said by phone. “The important thing is the march is growing every year. I think the important thing is the LGBTQ community needs to be able to feel safe no matter which neighbourhood they live in.”
Acts performing at this year’s festival, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m., include Kim Kuzma, Janis Mullan’s Melissa Etheridge Tribute, and Cris Derksen.
For more information, see www.vancouverdykemarch.com/info.php