Judaism

Women with Star of David flags told to leave Chicago gay pride march

LGBT Pride festivities in Chicago took an ugly turn over the weekend when three women were ejected from a march because their rainbow flags bore a Jewish Star of David. 

The Chicago Windy Times, the city's LGBT paper, reported that the women were told that they could not take part in the city's Dyke March because their flags" made people feel unsafe."

The Dyke March is separate from Chicago's main Pride Parade and is described by organizers as being "more inclusive" and "more social justice-oriented" than the main event. 

One of the women told to leave the march, Laurie Grauer, said her so-called Jewish Pride flag was "from my congregation which celebrates my queer, Jewish identity which I have done for over a decade marching in the Dyke March with the same flag.

"They were telling me to leave because my flag was a trigger to people that they found offensive," Grauer went on. "Prior to this, I had never been harassed or asked to leave and I had always carried the flag with me."

The Dyke March organizers issued a statement on Twitter Sunday afternoon, which said the women were told to leave the March "after they repeatedly expressed support for Zionism." The statement went on to say that the organizers are "explicitly not anti-Semitic, we are anti-Zionist" and "support the liberation of Palestine and oppressed people everywhere."

"People asked me if I was a Zionist and I said 'Yes, I do care about the state of Israel but I also believe in a two-state solution and an independent Palestine,'" Grauer told the Windy Times. "It's hard to swallow the idea of inclusion when you are excluding people from that. People are saying 'You can be gay but not in this way.' We do not feel welcomed. We do not feel included."

Grauer is listed as the Midwest Manager of Programs and Operations for A Wider Bridge, an organization supporting the LGBT community in Israel. The Dyke March statement condemned A Wider Bridge for allegedly "using Israel's supposed 'LGBTQ tolerance' to pinkwash the violent occupation of Palestine."

"An annual march celebrating inclusion and acceptance was hijacked ... by those who believe Jews do not belong to the LGBTQ community," said American Jewish Committee Chicago Director Amy Stoken. "Shame on the organizers of the Dyke March for not ensuring Jewish marchers can participate as freely as any other participant.

"Where is the collective outrage over this despicable targeting of Jews?