Dykes in the Street


Almerinda Travassos
2019 | 38 mins

Dykes In The Streets is a documentary that examines the rise of Lesbian visibility in Toronto over the past thirty-five years. Lesbians Against The Right (LAR) organized the first Toronto dyke march called ‘Dykes In The Streets’ in 1981. I was there and documented five minutes of the historic march on S8 film.

The project recalls the the personal and political ramifications of the march through the voices of some of the original 300 participants/organizers. It also demonstrates the growth of the Toronto Lesbian and LGBTQ+ community by way of its visibility and street activism.

It seemed to me that our recent Lesbian history was already being lost. Aside from the original 300 demo participants and friends, most Lesbians had no knowledge that the historical 1981 march had occurred. I also wanted younger viewers to celebrate the strength and courage that these brave Lesbians showed in 1981. It was a small but triumphant event!

The biggest challenge in producing the film/video was how to structure the thirty-five-year narrative by providing the political context to a younger generation and to celebrate the memories of the 1981 participants? I’m not a fan of voice-over as a storying telling technique and wanted the women to speak for themselves.

The video was conceived in three to four parts. The original 1981 march was documented on 2 rolls of Super8 film out of pocket. I later received a small Canada Council grant on the 10th year anniversary in order to commemorate the event in a ‘final’ video. However, the footage continued to expand over the years and at the thity-five-year mark I commenced its final completion.

Hopefully, Dykes In The Streets will be come part of a diverse historical tableau as it fuses with many of our LGBTQ+ voices.

The video premiered in Toronto at the Inside Out Festival in 2019.

Almerinda Travassos

To view this film on Vimeo , use the link Dykes In The Streets (from Almerinda on Vimeo.)

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