Surrey Dyke March forges a new path in the city

The first ever march will take place on Aug. 13

The first ever Surrey Dyke March takes place on Aug. 13. (Freepik/unaihuiziphotography)

The first ever Surrey Dyke March takes place on Aug. 13. (Freepik/unaihuiziphotography)

Before organizer Kailey Henderson created the first Surrey Dyke March, she noticed the difficulty of creating community in the city and wanted to change that. 

The 2021 census from Statistics Canada showed Surrey is the second biggest municipality in British Columbia. Despite this, however, she says Surrey is “drastically under-resourced” in terms of organizing space.

“In general, the 2SLGBTQ+ community is super underserved and underrepresented in Surrey. We have a huge population here, but there’s been a lot of difficulties creating community like there is in Vancouver,” Henderson says.

These difficulties, and the rise of what Henderson refers to as the “super polarizing of the far-right” led her to create the first ever Surrey Dyke March. 

First announced on their Instagram account in June, the march is set to take place Aug. 13. Henderson also set up a GoFundMe to cover organizing costs, particularly for two-spirit, transgender, BIPOC, and organizers with disabilities. 

Currently, they have raised a total of $1,375, surpassing the fundraiser’s goal of $1,000. 

“It’s been absolutely amazing to see the support we’ve received,” Henderson says. “We’re trying to fairly compensate both the folks providing services as part of Dyke March, but also to be able to compensate our QTBIPOC organizers.” 

“Just by the nature of the long histories of colonialism and white supremacy, [they] do take on additional labour and risk in organizing spaces. And so we wanted to compensate for that.”

Recently members of far-right groups have pushed back against Pride events in Metro Vancouver, often harassing the participants involved. An all-ages drag show in Victoria during Pride Month was cancelled after the hosts received a threat of gun violence.   

Most recently, a Drag Queen Story Time in Richmond resulted in several parents having to intervene after two men showed up with signs featuring anti-LGBTQ+ slogans and harassed both the queen and children in attendance. 

Henderson says neither she nor the Dyke March have received any pushback yet. However, if there is, she says she’s concerned about what it will look like the day of the march.

“It seems there has been a rise in fascists showing up at events for our community,” wrote Henderson in a follow-up email to The Runner

“We are working hard at safety planning so that we can keep everyone attending as safe as possible amidst these threats.”

Henderson says people will likely take away different things from the march. However, she hopes attendees “find some sense of support and community” through the event.

“I see it as being important for the visibility of folks that are often most marginalized in the community,” she says. “For the creation of community in Surrey, and to hopefully boost organizing efforts in the community.”

“We are welcoming folks from all walks of life,” Henderson says. “What I do hope for is that folks may find messaging and folks they align with, find encouragement to do their own activism work.”