2 min

Pride’s special people

The grand marshal pretends she's pregnant

PHYSICAL CHANGES. Activist Mirha-Soleil Ross prepares for her prosthesis. Credit: Xtra files

The transgendered grand marshal – born with male genitalia – will be pregnant for Pride.

The show will be part of performance artist Mirha-Soleil Ross’s nine-month Pregnancy Project.

But Pride Day is too soon for a big tummy: “No belly prosthesis yet as nothing’s showing yet. I’ll start the belly thing end of the summer. There will be gradual bellies!”

Ross promises to appear preggers in public until the grand February 2002 finale, to generate talk about gender, motherhood and the ethics of cloning, womb transplants and other reproductive technologies.

“The idea that transsexual women who wish to, could at some point in a not-so-distant future acquire ovaries, a uterus, a cycle, and get pregnant is enough to infuriate feminists and make many transgendered feel uneasy.”

Every month, Ross will invite the public to a different show – shopping for maternity clothes, for example, at a local second-hand shop, or reading about midwifery at the Toronto Public Reference Library.

She’s also an animal rights activist, filmmaker and sex worker. And she’s only one of the many honoured by the Pride committee during this year’s celebrations.

The Pride 2001 Distinguished Group is the 519 Church Street Community Centre.

It’s really the gay community centre, a city-run and -funded institution that opened in 1975. Its meeting rooms are home to hundreds of gay groups. (In fact Ross helped found Meal-Trans at The 519, a weekly supper and support group for transsexuals.)

Facing the ax during the recent budget panic at Toronto City Hall, The 519 galvanized gay men and lesbians from across the region to call politicians and demand that funding levels remain the same for an integral part of the community. Many city councillors said they were astonished at the level of support, and the money was restored.

Ross and staff and volunteers from The 519 will lead the Pride parade, to be held at 2pm on Sun, Jun 24.

The Dyke March also recognizes those who’ve worked for the community. This year’s distinguished group is the Pussy Palace organizing committee.

Two years ago, the Pussy Palace grrrls started a successful women’s bathhouse night – and each of the four held so far have been packed to the gills.

Last September, the cops sent in two undercover female officers, followed by five men who spent more than a hour wandering the hallways and pounding on cubicle doors.

Despite the police resources, no criminal charges were laid – only provincial liquor act charges.

“Since the police raid at the women’s bathhouse… this group has protested for the freedom of sexual statement for women,” reads the announcement. “This organization has set an outstanding example and fostered support for the lesbian, bisexual and transgendered women’s community.

“Like the Toronto Dyke March Committee, the women’s bathhouse is a small volunteer organization. The Toronto Dyke March Committee is encouraging donations to organizations such as the women’s bathhouse to support local community groups in their endeavours.”

The group will lead the march and carry the Dyke March banner the next day, at the Pride parade.

The Dyke March is at 2pm on Sat, Jun 23. And the next women’s bathhouse night is from 5pm Wed, Jun 20 at Club Toronto (231 Mutual St). Doors will close at 6am the next morning. Tickets are $15 (only available at the door). See