The Dyke March saw thousands walk, chant and celebrate through downtown streets as Pride Toronto celebrations kicked into high gear Saturday.
The event has less structure than Sunday’s annual Pride parade. There are no corporate floats and no steel barriers separating cheering crowds from those marching.
“This is a completely community-led and community-driven rally,” Olivia Nuamah, Pride Toronto executive director, said before the march began on Church St. just south of Bloor St. E.
While acknowledging the many progressive policies put in place over the years, Nuamah explained why the march still matters.
“Until we’re all free, none of us are free,” she said.
It’s the sense of community that makes the parade important to people like Dianne Fontaine — in her 13th year of the march with Dykes on Bikes.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re straight, gay, trans, bi, queer, whatever. It brings the community together,“ Fontaine said.
Participant Val Walls said the march will continue to be important until we don’t have to identify by the colours of the flag, or outside of just being a human being.
“Until it’s without question that people are accepted and can be their authentic selves and can really truly show up in a workplace where they can thrive, not just survive but thrive, and that still does not occur today for many people,” Walls said.