7th annual Winnipeg Dyke March draws colourful crowd

Dozens of LGBT people and their allies took part in the seventh annual Winnipeg Dyke March Saturday.

March recognizes people from 'more marginalized area of the queer community,' organizer says

Dozens participated in the 2016 Winnipeg Dyke March Saturday. (Elliott Sloan/Radio-Canada)

Dozens of LGBT people and their allies took part in the seventh annual Winnipeg Dyke March Saturday.

The event is held every year in the leadup to the annual Winnipeg Pride Parade, which takes place Sunday.

Organizers Sara Barsky and Joey Lowen said the inclusive event celebrates every letter of every iteration of the LGBT acronym and more, but it also highlights members of the community they believe often receive less attention.

"The Winnipeg Dyke March is a women-inclusive march.... It's queer and trans-inclusive, it's about being accessible and community-based and taking up space in a week that doesn't always recognize people from the more marginalized area of the queer community," Barsky said.
Organizers Shawna Dempsy, Joey Lowen, Arista Petkau and Sara Barsky said the Winnipeg Dyke March is about 'taking up space' and focusing on supporting the more marginalized groups within the LGBT community. (Kenza Kaghat/Radio-Canada)

"I feel a lot of mainstream pride organizations and mainstream pride events, not just in Winnipeg but all over the place, exclude a lot of marginalized community members and I hope that the dyke march is more representative of the community that I see every day," Lowen said.

The dyke march offers a more positive alternative to many mainstream pride events, which often fail to acknowledge and adequately celebrate "all of the actual work and time and emotional labour that goes into being a part of [the] queer community every other day of the year," Barsky said.

"It's just this one day of expensive parties ... you need to look a certain way to show up there," Barsky said. "That's not what we do here at dyke march. Anyone is welcome. It's open to allies. It's free.... We're always open to those conversations about being accountable to our community."

The group met at the River Osborne Community Centre at noon and then marched through Osborne Village to Memorial Park in downtown Winnipeg.
The Winnipeg Dyke March wound through the streets of Osborne Village and ended at Memorial Park in downtown Winnipeg. (Kenza Kaghat/Radio-Canada)

Organizers hope the event helps raise awareness about the mental health, gender equality, accessibility and safety issues people in the LGBT community face every day.

The march also celebrated the National Day of Action for Sex Workers' Rights.