Lesha Van Der Bij and Lisa Hayes worked with a handful of volunteers and a budget of $50. In spite of rainy weather and concerns a separate march would divide the community, Toronto's first Dyke March was held on June 29, 1996.
The march began at the 519 Community Centre where participants were forced to share narrow sidewalks while enduring heckling and objects being thrown from balconies. The march continued and participants became louder and more irrepressible – fighting back by chanting and dancing with increasing passion.
The Dyke March is now an annual event and welcomes all lesbian and trans-identified people. Allies are welcome to support the march but may be asked to respectfully walk alongside the route. This is a statement that we are all one community but able to give each other the space and opportunity to strike out on our own. The Dyke March continues to raise awareness and increase visibility in the queer community and is an affirmation to Dykes and Trans people that they are a valued and welcomed part of communities and society as a whole.
Members of the Rainbow Alliance are pleased to once again take part in this annual celebration and promotion of greater equality. If you would like to participate, meet at the OPSEU office on Wellesley Street East for noon prior to the march. Contact a member of the Rainbow Alliance for additional information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on events during World Pride week: World Pride 2014