The whirlwind weekend that was – a Dyke March anecdote

There’s nothing more exciting than hearing past Dyke March participants’ recounts of their experiences. We encourage you to share your stories, creative writing, art, poetry and anecdotes with us. Please e-mail dykemarchto@gmail.com if you have something you’d like to submit.

I’m not quite a Silver Fox, but getting there.  I have attended Toronto Dyke Marches since 2002, so 10 years now, and I can say I have a lot of great memories.  I wrote this article regarding my activities around Pride back in 2005.

Pride Whirlwind
By Karen Elstone
June 2005

Wow!  I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so much over Pride weekend (or any weekend, for that matter) before!

It all started off with Cheap Queers, a cabaret show at Buddies in Bad Times.  It was a great party – beyond my
expectations! It was not your ordinary theatre event, oh no!  There were a variety of acts: comedy, monologues, dance and music.  It was well worth the $4.62 I spent!  The co-host/organizer, Keith Cole, started off the evening with a tantalizing drag performance, and a trio named Clicks rocked the house with their ’80s style music.  I’d have to say the highlight of the evening was a girl who performed a hoola hoop act.  She ended her act by doing a strip-tease and spinning her hoops around her neck and waist at the same time; a very revealing show I must say!  The other co-hosts, Deb, Dirk and Pierce added their own styles of humour to the show as well.  It was very entertaining!
Not quite recovering from the excitement from the night before, I went on a boat cruise for women! The Wet and Wild Cruise was unlike any boat cruise I’ve ever experienced.  After a hot and humid day, the winds by the lake cooled me off as I boarded, yet I felt pretty hot. Over 300 women filled the River Gambler.  It was a bit cool on the upper outside deck, but the sight of gorgeous women kept a fire going inside.  It was a perfect evening for a cruise.  The DJ was great, playing a mix of tunes from various genres, such as’70s Motown–even tunes that matched the theme of the evening, such as Rock the Boat.  I danced with an attractive friend for a while, and the greats tunes kept coming. Later, as the sun went down, I walked around and admired the city skyline.  It looked so pretty all lit up.  I felt great to be living in T.O.

On the lower deck you could enjoy a meal, but it was much more fun at the top, where the music was playing.  Then we heard the rocking sound of Hunter Valentine, an all-female punk trio.  They played energetic material of their own, along with a few covers, including a raspy version of the Janis Joplin classic Another Piece of My Heart.  The DJ came back for breaks and kept the beat goingŠ

It really is a small world, especially the lesbian world.  I saw a girl I had met just after coming out to myself, and another woman who was in the lesbian choir I was in around the same time.  And now, they are partners! It was nice to see, actually‹two of my friends hooking up.  I asked a girl to dance, and we chatted while dancing, but then thanked me for the dance and walked away. Oh well, there are lots of women out there and Pride Weekend wasn’t over yet.

I really wanted to sleep in the next morning, but I had to get ready for the Dyke March.  I was to be a radio marshal and team leader to boot!  I had been a regular marshal for the last three Prides, but now a team leader?! Maybe this was a chance to tell some ladies what to do! (hehe).  Seriously though, it all went too smooth to be bossy, and my ladies were too well behaved.  It felt good to be leading women who were as enthusiastic as me. It seemed there were even more people than ever out there watching and cheering the March on. I felt very proud to help out with such a great womens’ event!

I went to ‘Breast Fest,’ a celebration of women’s breasts! Women could paint their chests with watercolours, have them photographed and even participate in contests, such as having members of the audience guess a bra size.  There was even an Indian henna artist on hand to decorate your breasts. Now, this I couldn’t pass up! I had a beautiful design painted on both of my breasts.  It took a while to dry in the hot and humid weather, but after the henna mud was removed, I had a wonderful piece of art on my body for over a week! Some of us even decorated each other with the henna; lots of fun!

By that time I was toast!  I mean that literally too!  It was quite hot out there, and I had to make sure I had the sunscreen on, especially since my upper body was exposed to those nasty UV rays!

Then came time to venture off to a womens’ dance.  I walked to one on Parliament Street, away from the main festivities of Pride, but it was too packed.  A friend and I walked to the SAVOUR event at Andy Pool Hall.  On the way we sang together and got ourselves psyched up for the party to come. We got there about 11:30 and had to wait in line, but the wait was worth it. We danced to the funky mix of Denise Benson. The place was hopping and the women were hot, including my friend, but she had her eye on someone else. Unfortunately, neither of us really got what we wanted, but it was fun trying.  I always love dancing at womens’ events.  It brings me to another world where I have no worries.

It wasn’t quite over yet! I helped out on Pride Sunday at the pinksofa.com booth.  I helped promote this womens’ dating/friendship website by handing out business cards to lots of ladies. So, I had even more chances to flirt – and get paid for it! It was another hot day, and I was tired, but I had my good friend’s place to run to for rest and another barbecue!  By the time I finished dinner, I was really wiped!

All in all though, I had a super-packed Pride I will never forget!

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About Dyke March Toronto

Mission: The 2015 Toronto Dyke March works to create dyke-centred spaces because we need — and demand — more visibility within the Pride Toronto Festival. Goals: Our goal is to organize a political and celebratory march, created by and for dykes across the spectrum. We need to create our own space to be political and visible. Dyke visibility is important because we are not fully represented in the Pride movement or in mainstream society. The Dyke March celebrates our diversity and demonstrates the power of our communities. We hope the Dyke March leaves you with the energy to take action, a sense of community, and an appreciation for your own unique dyke glory! Values: The Dyke March values collective organizing to give dykes who are historically oppressed a platform. These include, but are not limited to, trans folks, Indigenous folks, folks of colour and folks with disabilities. We see this as necessary to create social change.
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