2 min

Dykes march!

no caption Credit: Capital Xtra files

It won’t be the first time lesbian, bisexual and trans women have marched in Ottawa, but organizers are hoping their first Dyke March on Sat, Jul 10 becomes an annual event.

San Francisco has held a similar Dyke March for the past 12 years and cities across the globe, including Toronto and Vancouver, have followed their lead.

“Many Pride events tend to be very male-focussed which is great for the guys,” says Jessica Carfatnini, one of the march organizers. “We’re bringing attention to the unique situation of lesbian, bisexual and trans women.

“It’s not to take away from anything planned by our gay brothers. The reason that it is planned for [Pride] week is to express solidarity,” says Carfatnini.

And Carfatnini notes that the march is a political protest. “We’re doing it in a more fun-loving way, but it is a march, not a parade.

“As soon as we gained the right to equal marriage here in Ontario, we saw a huge amount of homophobic backlash,” she says, touching on the importance of sustained political engagement.

“Lesbians are experiencing that in addition to sexism, as those two things combined, it creates a very unequal experience for lesbian and bi women, as well as trans people,” says Carfatnini. “So, we are going to stand in the street and celebrate even though people don’t want us to be seen.”

Although the event is billed as Ottawa’s “first annual Dyke March”, Carfatnini doesn’t like to emphasize the “first” aspect. Various marches have been organized in past years and she doesn’t want to diminish the work of other organizers.

“Things have been done over the years, but as far as we know this hasn’t been done on the Saturday before Pride. We’re pretty sure that it is the first one,” says Carfatnini.

“We really hope that it will catch on,” she says. “We think this is the best way to build community and love who we want to love, and we’re also going to have a lot of fun with it.”

Although the event has not been organized through the Pride Committee, Carfatnini notes that the event will be held on Pride’s Women’s Day and arrangements have been made to coordinate activities. The march will conclude at McNabb Community Centre – where Women’s Day will be underway. The march will arrive at McNabb in time to catch the buses leaving for the women’s boat cruise.

“Women who want to do it all will have that option,” says Carfatnini.


Noon. Sat, Jun 10.

International Human Rights Monument, corner of Elgin and Lisgar Sts.

INFO:, or mother tongue books at 730-2346.