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Vancouver Dyke March and Festival organizers honour WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre for commitment to inclusivity

Straight 2019-08-04 12:46:29

Tomorrow's Pride parade is the Vancouver Pride Society's marquee event, attracting lots of corporate sponsors and gobbling up more media attention than almost all other Pride events put together.

But today on Commercial Drive, there was an important event for nonbinary folks and lesbians.

The Vancouver Dyke March wound its way from McSpadden Park to Grandview Park for the 16th year in a celebration of art, performances, and queer culture.


What stood out this year was the organizers' decision to designate the WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre as grand marshals.

"WAVAW’s ongoing advocacy and inclusion of trans, queer and non-binary folks in their services, minds and voices has been nothing short of inspiring," Vancouver Dyke March organizers said in a statement on their website, "in the face of perpetual and persistent bigotry and hatred, WAVAW stands out as a leader in this community with a strong and clear message that trans, queer and non-binary individuals deserve to live, love, work and play with equal rights and access as anyone else."

This came in the wake of WAVAW's outspoken declaration earlier this year that it's providing service to trans women and trans feminine people because they experience a disproportionate amount of sexualized violence.

In its statement, WAVAW cited Kimberlé Crenshaw's theory of intersectionality in explaining how compounding forms of oppression can take an even greater toll.

"Therefore, as feminists, we cannot speak to a universal experience of womanhood, and we will not exclude trans women by claiming that there is one."

Moreover, it dismissed suggestions by some self-declared feminists that trans women would take over and force an "anti-feminist" agenda on organizations that provide services to women who are victims of sexualized violence.

"We know this is incorrect because trans women have never accessed WAVAW in large numbers, despite the fact that we have been expressly open to trans women since 2000."

In 2018, WAVAW issued a public apology for previously calling for the abolition of the sex trade.

"Our service delivery and the writing we’ve put out have sent the message to members of the sex worker community and their allies that sex workers could not access our services," it stated in a letter to the sex-work community. "We’re sorry for this."

Nowadays, WAVAW adamantly supports sex workers' rights, including the right to safe working conditions and services that they need.

Below, you can see some photos from today's Vancouver Dyke March and Festival that are being passed around over social media.