Vancouver Dyke March a celebration, not a rally

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      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



      Tami Starlight

      Jul 29, 2010 at 5:38am

      I find it so disheartening that queer/LGBT events are communicating this way.

      My experience as a queer person of aboriginal decent and trans experience, is that my indentity is a political statement in itself. That until the community mobilized and fought VERY heard to get to the level of equality in Canada, we were much worse off.

      We fought politicians, we have LGBT Canadians in political life and those who support various political organizations over many years to encourage them to fight for LGBT equality.

      So this is just ridiculous - that dyke marches and similar evens like "east side pride", or "the pride parade" are not political.

      Being anything but middle class, white and heterosexual is a challenge, and one that is excluded much in political spheres.
      Especially at the so called "top" of Canadian life - political, financial and social.

      Enough is enough.

      Do LGBT people forget how we come to enjoy such equality?

      I have learned that if we do not "exercise" our rights, we lose them. (they atrophy)

      Here's to those LGBT Canadians who are political and still "fighting the good fight", on all levels within Canadian society.

      DC in BC

      Jul 29, 2010 at 12:54pm

      Oh, jeez, this should be something!


      Jul 30, 2010 at 4:55pm

      I hope the spokesperson is dead wrong. How depressing that even the dykes are becoming apolitical. We don't need another corporate Pride that reads like a "pride in one's city" event as the ads on TV suggest.

      agnes moorehead

      Jul 30, 2010 at 8:39pm

      jeezus christ! i don't know about you, sam levy, but my dyke community includes fierce activists, many of whom made our little urban bubble a freak of a lot safer for you and your "proud" friends. show some self-respect and stop apologizing for being queer, for gods sake. we are not all just nice little middle class families with children and dogs in tow. some of us have struggles that are still not won. some of us are not "just like them" and we certainly don't feel the need to reassure straight people that we're all orderly and "normal" in order to rally in the street. if you and your nice normal friends can't grasp that then maybe just speak for yourselves, instead of deciding that the whole march is going to move along quietly.

      a queer.

      Jul 30, 2010 at 9:02pm

      It really is a sad testament to the atrophying of memory that this reincarnation continues to be billed as the "first". Dykes have been marching up and down this street for a very very long time. And it was always political. It still is. Really wish people could do the right thing and at least acknowledge (without idealizing or un-problematizing the crappy parts of it) the history they're having some so called "non-political" celebration on the backs of.

      Sarah L

      Jul 30, 2010 at 9:53pm

      oh sad. i don't get why "pride" organizers seem to feel that the right thing to do right now is assure everyone that your event is not "political." since when does political action negate the possibility of fun or pride or celebration? also, was there nothing else to say about the event? like maybe the georgia straight might want to publish something about the history of the event or something crazy like that? maybe this is more of the reporter's slant than the organizers'? i'm not sure why the core theme of an article about the dyke march would be a reassurance that it is not like the G20 protests. was that like some rumour that was going around or something? uh oh, dyke march is coming. they're going to be burning cars and stuff. this article is dumb in so many ways.


      Jul 30, 2010 at 11:12pm

      This seems random - why would anybody think the dyke march and the G20 protests were the same thing? And why the need to reassure people that this isn't a protest? And what's wrong with a political statement? I've beeing going to the dyke march since it began and I like the chaotic freedom of expression it entails.

      I wonder to what degree this article reflects an angle chosen by the author rather than something volunteered by the organizer. I don't see why the question would even arise unless somebody was fishing for something.


      Jul 31, 2010 at 11:44am

      I think it is important to look at the slant of the article, Levy may have been quoted out of context. What's with the random and baiting comparison to the G20 and demonizing civil disobedience Mathew Burrows?
      What's wrong with political statements and celebration together?

      Kelly Smith

      Jul 31, 2010 at 11:59am

      I dunno about the organizer of this "march" but i'm there to take over the streets cos it is political!
      There's a difference between making events safe for everyone to be there and then ignoring the history and current forms of oppression that dykes face.
      And I stand in solidarity with all those folks who were arrested at the G20 and so should this rally!


      Jul 31, 2010 at 12:08pm

      Not to worry. The cowardly little black blockheads won't show up because they might get beat up by the dykes. As for being political, I think it's nice to FINALLY have an event where people are willing to just celebrate who they are without having to b*tch because life isn't perfect.