Lesbian Notions - Power Dyke

Logo aired a documentary about them as part of the network’s Real Momentum series. The New York Times writes about them. The online Urban Dictionary even defines them.
Who am I talking about? Power Lesbians. The documentary followed a group of L.A. lesbian movers and shakers. The Times interviewed Ellen DeGeneres before Portia de Rossi but after Anne Heche. The Urban Dictionary defines them as “well-suited dykes who rank in business, government, or media and who move as a pack.”
Now I prefer to think of them as Power Dykes - maybe because I came out in the late ‘70s, and we were all about reclaiming the word, or maybe because I think it sounds more, well, you know, powerful!
And powerful is the word I would use to describe Louise Roy, the power dyke who is the CEO of World Outgames Montreal 2006.
When I first met with Roy and her team in January to finalize a working relationship between my LGBT marketing firm, OutMarketing.biz, and Outgames, I was blown away by how well-run the operation was. I’ve been around a lot of LGBT organizations in my day, and this, by far, is the best of them. The reason is simple - Roy is a leader with vision, and runs the operation like a business. In today’s world, a leader with vision and business acumen is crucial for any type of nonprofit to survive.
For those who don’t know, Outgames is the inaugural LGBT sporting competition of the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA). To date, more than 12,000 participants from 109 countries will converge on Montreal from July 29 to August 5 to compete, play, and participate in 35 athletic disciplines and various cultural events. Kicking off the games is the first International Conference on LGBT Human Rights, which takes place from July 26-29.
In her decidedly French-Canadian accent, Roy told me Outgames was “a great opportunity to put all of my experience to work for the gay community and for Montreal.”
Given the $6 million in Canadian government funding - national, provincial, and local - Roy has raised to help support these events, it’s clear she’s not afraid to use all the connections she has to make whatever she’s working on a success.
Unlike many in the respective LGBT sports, culture, and political realms, Roy understands the connections among the three. “We’re talking about sports and homophobia. We’re having LGBT athletic competitions sanctioned by the official sporting organizations in their respective disciplines. We’re opening the doors of our city so that people can come here and experience the openness of a country that welcomes and values us. We’re creating an experience that those who participate in Outgames won’t soon forget.”
Roy understands the connections because she has lived and worked in all three arenas. Active for years in the trenches of Quebec’s separatist movement (or sovereignist movement, as the Quebecois like to call it), Roy was the city’s first openly lesbian elected official (1994-98), representing Plateau Mont-Royal, one of the city’s boroughs but not the one where Montreal’s famed Gay Village is located.
What many of us here in the United States would consider a typical lesbian jock, Roy won a silver medal in basketball at the Canadian Games held in Lethbridge during her three-year tenure playing for the Quebec provincial team.
The first woman to cycle across Canada solo, Roy once guided a group of Canadian cyclists through China and has published Partie a bicyclette, a book focused on cycling through Quebec as a tourist. Her ability to leverage sponsorship money for her solo tour and her vast knowledge of cycling resulted in Roy being named general manager of Velo Quebec, the province’s cycling organization.
She is a founding member of the Canadian Commission for the Advancement of Women in Sports and is currently a member of the board of the Canadian Cycling Association.
Roy put her marketing acumen to work when she helmed Cirque de Soleil in the late ‘80s, bringing the troupe to the United States for its first tour, and when she chaired the regional tourism association for Saguenay-Lac St.-Jean, a region in northern Quebec.
Right before Outgames, she ran the marketing operation for Divers/Cite, Montreal’s annual Pride event which brings thousands to the city.
Sports, culture, and politics - that’s not a combination many leaders in our community would package together to move forward a pro-LGBT agenda.
“It’s rare in your life that you have the occasion to talk to the gay world,” said Roy. “With Outgames, we will be talking to the whole world with a message that’s very important to the gay world - our rights.”
Libby Post is the founding chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and a political commentator on public radio, on the Web, and in print media. She can be reached at LesbianNotions@qsyndicate.com.

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