Last month a gay pride parade called the Dyke March became national news after organizers ejected three people carrying rainbow flags with the star of David on them. Now the reporter who broke that story has been demoted to working in the sales office. From the Times of Israel:
Gretchen Rachel Hammond, an award-winning reporter for the Windy City Times, a Chicago LGBT newspaper, has been moved full-time to the paper’s sales desk as of Monday. Hammond was the first to report that three women were kicked out of the Chicago Dyke March, an LGBT parade on June 24, for carrying rainbow flags emblazoned with Jewish stars.
Hammond confirmed that she is no longer reporting for the paper, but declined to say whether she was moved because of her coverage of the Dyke March.
The story makes clear that this shift is not a temporary move. Hammond is done as a reporter at the Windy City Times. Hammond told the Times of Israel, “I’m still a part of the company, and it’s my only source of income. To keep what job I have, I can’t comment on it.” So it sounds as if, in addition to being demoted, Hammond has been told to remain silent. And if you think about it, that’s apparently what the paper wanted from her all along, i.e. to hush up the questionable decision of the organizers.
The paper itself initially updated the story with a statement from the organizers. Two days later, in response to the story being reported around the country, the organizers submitted another defensive statement which is nearly as long as the original article. A sample:
Chicago Dyke March Collective is a grassroots mobilization and celebration of dyke, queer, bisexual, and transgender resilience. Our priority is to ensure a safer space for those who are most marginalized. We welcome and include people of all identities, but not all ideologies. We believe in creating a space free from oppression, and that involves rejecting racist ideologies that support state violence. We welcome the support we have received from Jewish allies and marchers who are as invested in liberation as we are.
According to one of the women who was ejected, organizers approached her and claimed the flag was triggering people and making them feel unsafe:
I knew the March was a politically fraught atmosphere, so I went in very carefully. I ignored people side-eyeing me. I stayed away from Palestinian flags and Palestinian chants. I actively walked away from people who directly tried to instigate conflict. I thought maybe if I played by their rules, I could just be Jewish in public.
No such luck. During the picnic in the park, organizers in their official t-shirts began whispering and pointing at me and soon, a delegation came over, announcing they’d been sent by the organizers. They told me my choices were to roll up my Jewish Pride flag or leave. The Star of David makes it look too much like the Israeli flag, they said, and it triggers people and makes them feel unsafe. This was their complaint…
I was thrown out of Dyke March for being Jewish.
In response to the story, a staff editor for the NY Times opinion page wrote a piece critiquing the intersectionality that is responsible for the left’s new “caste system”:
Intersectionality is the big idea of today’s progressive left. In theory, it’s the benign notion that every form of social oppression is linked to every other social oppression. This observation — coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw — sounds like just another way of rephrasing a slogan from a poster I had in college: My liberation is bound up with yours. That is, the fight for women’s rights is tied up with the fight for gay rights and civil rights and so forth. Who would dissent from the seductive notion of a global sisterhood?
Well, in practice, intersectionality functions as kind of caste system, in which people are judged according to how much their particular caste has suffered throughout history. Victimhood, in the intersectional way of seeing the world, is akin to sainthood; power and privilege are profane…
Because though intersectionality cloaks itself in the garb of humanism, it takes a Manichaean view of life in which there can only be oppressors and oppressed. To be a Jewish dyke, let alone one who deigns to support Israel, is a categorical impossibility, oppressor and oppressed in the same person.
She concludes that what happened at the pride march, “was no more and no less than anti-Semitism.” Given that even the NY Times is weighing in against the behavior of the organizers, it’s not hard to imagine what motivated the Windy City Times to demote its own reporter to the sales desk.