What does being a ‘good ally’ mean to you?

Whether we like it or not, on Dyke Day (and heck – everyday!), we share space with dykes who may think very differently than us, non-dyke-identified people, and even non-dyke-friendly people. This doesn’t always mean there has to be conflict, but the spectacle and intensity of Pride seems to bring it out. Nobody wants to spend the Dyke March feeling uncomfortable under the leering eyes of on-lookers who came just for the sights. Nobody wants to spend the Dyke March feeling unwelcome by the raised eyebrows of their fellow dykes who don’t think they belong. We can create an environment where all dykes feel more comfortable and welcomed by working hard to be good allies to each other.

There are some basics of being a good ally:

  • Listen, rather than talk, when a member of a marginalized group is speaking about their experiences of oppression
  • Do your own research on the oppression(s) faced by a marginalized group, rather than asking someone to ‘prove’ how they are oppressed
  • Ask how you can support a marginalized group or community organization’s event or other effort, rather than taking over

But how can we apply these basics of solidarity on Dyke Day and during the Dyke March? Much of this work will have to take place in advance of the Dyke March to make sure we build positive relationships with, make space for, and encourage the voices and participation of all the dykes in our diverse communities. The Dyke March Team strives to facilitate these practices through our blog posts, reading and sharing articles online, seeking anti-oppression training, and attending and publicizing events that might challenge our assumptions and open our minds a little more. We know, too, that many members of our dyke communities do their own solidarity work and learn about being good allies in other ways. But what about the people who come to the Dyke March, both inside and outside our communities, who aren’t interested in doing this work, or aren’t aware that this work needs to be done?

We need a simple, subtle, and police-free way of alerting people that their behaviour is unwelcome and unacceptable. The Dyke March Team’s strategy is to distribute a “How To Be a Good Ally” pamphlet on Dyke Day. This would look like a fact sheet on being a good ally, and we need YOU to tell us what being a good ally means to you on Dyke Day. Does it mean not taking your photo without asking? Does it mean refraining from using swear words so you feel comfortable marching with your children? Whatever it means, please let us know by filling out  our survey with your feedback! Rate how important the listed items are to you, and add more ways to be a good ally. Click here to take the survey!

Volunteer With Us
We love seeing our allies cheering us on as we strut, march, and roll down Yonge Street on Dyke Day, but we need our allies’ help, too. We are looking for volunteers to form a committee to help stop harassment in a community-based, police-free way. We envision this committee using bystander intervention, peer education, and any other tactics that are community-driven and non-violent. We envision this committee consisting of both dyke-identified folks and dyke allies, and existing as a self-organizing and self-governing body working in conjunction with the Dyke March Team. We need organizers, training facilitators, and committee members to volunteer!

Are you wondering how to get involved in the Dyke March? Do you know any non-dyke identified folks who want to help and support us on Dyke Day? Consider learning how to safely intervene if harassment occurs. For some tips on bystander intervention and more on peer education, check out these links!

For more information on how to be a good ally, check out some of these links!

To volunteer or ask questions:
Email: dykemarchto@gmail.com
Facebook: DykeMarch Toronto
Twitter : @dykemarchTO
Instagram: @dykemarchtoThis post written by: Andi

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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