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Meri Perra blogs about the challenges she and her partner face in trying to raise their girls with feminist values

Today after work my partner will go in search of pink hair dye. She wants me to take the time to buy a new dress, like there is something wrong with worn out yoga pants. (There is a lot wrong with worn out yoga pants.) “It’s only once a year,” she tells me when I squawk: “No time! No time!”

Dyke Day is anon, and she wants our family to look good. (And she tells me, have fun.) Half of our family will. Guaranteed. The kids always look great. Hopefully we’ll all have fun.

The kids will be in super hero/fairy princess hats and pink capes. They’ll wave rainbow flags, and both will likely sing: “When I get older, I will be stronger …” on heart-breaking adorable repeat. We’re considering being dykes with tykes on bikes this year. Definitely, once we get there, we’ll search for friends and wonder why we didn’t consider a meet-up spot.

Another year. Another Dyke March. And we’ll be happy. (Happy, and likely, tired, hot, thirsty, slightly irritated with the crowd, but happy… )

There will be the onlookers, some of whom are a touch too icky, and those are always the ones taking pictures. Absolutely, there will be the inevitable “oh crap there’s So-and-so”. Our day. And, So-and-so’s day too. Unfortunately.

Last year, due to a bizarre sequence of completely abnormal events, our girls’ Nonno marched with us at the alternative “Bring back the dyke” march. Uninvited. To clarify, my dad is not a dyke. He has never been a dyke. And is not leaning in that direction, as far as I know. He stuck to the sidewalk in his “supportive male” role, occasionally, when he wasn’t complaining that the girls were too hot or yelling about what does Pride have to do with Israel? Or, wondering why doesn’t the march get more aggressive and take up more space, what are these women intimidated maybe he should be in charge and, then, of course, aren’t those my old friends I haven’t talked to in years? No Meri, those women over there. Over there Meri. And then yell their names.

Our day.

It’s a thing that I’ll owe my partner for, for approximately forever. Whoever is on the deathbed first, it’ll come out. The time I couldn’t get my dad away from our march. The one hour a year that’s ours; the one hour, Meri. Yes, yes.

But let’s step out of ourselves for a moment. Matt Galloway of CBC Radio’s Metro Morning spoke with Ashram Parsi, the executive director of the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (IRQR) Thursday morning. I’ve also spoken to Parsi; he’s one of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met. All he does is work to make the lives of Iranian queers better. Iranian queers here, in Europe, in Iran, anywhere they end up trying to live safer lives. This year IRQR is marching in Sunday’s parade. They’ve decided there are enough of them here now, they are a community and it’s time to march as a group. Parsi says some Iranian queers won’t go, because they fear repercussion for their families back home. It’s brave, and humbling. What a refreshing story from all the noise about Mayor Ford.

And get this, an Iranian grandmother of a 17-year-old queer youth is joining them, in her wheelchair.

“She’ll and carry a sign that says ‘I love my gay grandson’,” Parsi said.

Galloway responded that in light of all the corporate sponsorship associated with Pride, that story proves the parade still means something.


To queers, spawns and parents, proud grandmothers, and in their own way, occasionally challenging but devoted Nonnos, Happy Pride.

Meri Perra is a community worker-turned-journalist living in Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood with her partner and two daughters

Photo by nouspique via Flickr

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