Vancouver Dyke March denounces protest by anti-transgender activists

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      A group that opposes the inclusion of transgender people in queer communities demonstrated at the Vancouver Dyke March (VDM) to make their views known.

      The march was held on August 4, along Commercial Drive to Grandview Park.

      In an August 5 Facebook post, the VDM alleged that a group of approximately 30 people, which they identified as a "hate group" and "TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists)", showed up at the beginning of the march.

      When the VDM were informed that rocks and papers around rocks with anti-trans messages on them had been places around the park, volunteers and board members spread out across the area to remove them and extra support was called in.

      Two VDM board members informed the group that the march is a trans-inclusive event and advised them not to bring anti-trans signs, shirts, or messages to the event, and that discrimination based on gender identity is against their code of conduct. 

      According to the VDM, when the group refused to remove their signs and shirts, they were asked to leave.

      VDM volunteers raised trans flags and used a megaphone to counter or drown-out trans-exclusionary messages, as the group walked alongside the march.

      "The Vancouver Dyke March is upset, angry, and disappointed by the actions of those people who sought to reject and exclude valued members of our communities, including trans folks," the VDM stated in a Facebook post. "As an organization we condemn the actions of TERFs and their message of intolerance and hate. We stand resolute that this group does not speak for us."

      Acacia Brovedani/Vancouver Dyke March

      Last week, the VDM website was not operating but is now back online.

      The Georgia Straight contacted the VDM on August 14 for an interview, which was postponed, and is currently awaiting a response.

      A trans-, two-spirit-, and intersex-inclusive policy is posted at the VDM website, which states that one of the policy's aims is to "repudiate the efforts of a small minority that wish to exclude Two-Spirit, trans, and intersex persons from VDM events".

      The policy also states that it was created "as part of a larger history of struggle and survival within Two-Spirit, trans, and intersex communities".

      The policy notes that in 2015, the VDM board was approached by potential donors who "were hesitant to work with us because they believed the organization was not fully inclusive" and that trans people also had similar concerns about participation and volunteering.

      Anti-trans activists, sometimes known by the term TERFs, often base their arguments against trans women upon the belief that they cannot be considered women due to being born with male genitalia or experiencing male privilege growing up.

      One of the most recent high-profile incidents involving an anti-trans demonstration occurred on July 7 when activists blocked the Pride in London parade in the U.K. to protest the inclusion of trans people.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.