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A March, Not A Parade - Halifax Dyke and Trans March

by Miles Howe

Don't call it a parade. Photo: Miles Howe
Gender. Not binary. Photo: Miles Howe
Pre-march hugs. Photo: Miles Howe
Artsy feather and earring shot. Photo: Miles Howe
Necessary cute baby in crowd shot. Photo: Miles Howe
Signage. Photo: Miles Howe
A Mistake You Make Only Once. Photo: Miles Howe
Gottingen Kiss. Photo: Miles Howe
More Signage. Photo: Miles Howe
The Fuzz. Photo: Miles Howe

HALIFAX - On July 22nd, queer women, trans people, and their allies, gathered for the first annual Halifax Dyke and Trans March. In light of the fact that the pomp and pageantry of the Pride Parade was scheduled for the very next day, I found myself wondering; Why two parades?

Rena Kulczycki, one of a committee of about 20 organizers of the march, was quick to point out that this was a march. Not a parade. Said Kulczycki:

"The Pride parade is very much that, it is a parade. It's fantastic, and it's a celebration of what we've done, and what we've achieved. But there is still so much more to do, and a lot of us feel that we're not being represented by Pride Halifax, and that that parade is not a place to continue the conversation to continue to raise awareness about the things that we're still struggling with."

A series of speakers, including Shay, another of the organizers of the march, wowed the crowd of about 150 that had gathered in front of Spring Garden Library. Shay's spoken word poem outside the library spoke about not fitting into a gender binary, and about that also not mattering. 

"There's no political analysis in Pride," said Shay. "Pride primarily gives space and represents very white, middle class, cis, gay male representations of queer sexuality, and I think a lot of people get left out of that. I think women in general, and also queer women, and also trans people, and gender queer people are not being represented. I think that our issues are not being talked about, and there's no effort to include us."

The march then proceeded along Brunswick Street, where, despite organizers not asking for a police presence, the police were a presence. Hemmed in by a cruiser in front, a police van in back, and flanked by a walking detail to the side, marchers began to calmly, but pointedly, direct their chants against the unwanted representatives of authority.

"We didn't ask for them, we didn't give them notice." said Kulczycki. "That's why they showed up. They came to notify us that because we hadn't asked them, that it was illegal what we were doing. We talked in our planning about whether or not we would notify the police, and thinking about particularly the historical implications of police presence at marches. When we look at Toronto last year (G20 police harassment, in particular of queer and trans folk)...there are a lot of people here in our community who were there, and that would be a huge barrier for their participation in this."

Uninvited guests notwithstanding, the mood remained jovial, and the march rambled its way through Halifax to the delight of numerous well-wishers and cheer squads. The march culminated in a dance party on the Commons, complete with free treats.


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Topics: Gender
472 words


Awesome article and great

Awesome article and great march!

Just a note: "sis" is actually "cis" which is short for "cisgender". Cisgender is a word that describes someone whose physical sex is aligned with their gender identity. Or someone who is not trans.

(And it's Shay <3)


Great photos (and article). How could we (the organizers) get a hold of the originals

Yes, "sis" should be changed to "cis" and "Shea" should be "Shay". 

I have the originals.

Sorry about that. I changed the spelling of both cis and Shay. I have a bunch more originals if you want to look through them. We have a weekly Halifax Media Coop meeting every Tuesday at 5pm at Humani-T cafe on Agricola and Young. If you want to bring a laptop or a USB stick and meet us there, you can help yourself to whatever you might want. Otherwise, you can email me at mileshowe@hotmail.com and we can set it up. It just takes too long for email transfers, and there are probably about 60 photos to look through. Thanks for a great march.

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