The final round of marches celebrating Pride 2017 occurred this weekend in cities around the world. In Chicago, the Dyke March, which is billed as a more inclusive event, was held Saturday, but, as people who don't agree with a laundry list of policy positions decided on by the organizers are increasingly finding out, the marches are anything but.
Laurel Grauer said she'd "lost count of the number of people who harassed" her, and told Windy City Times:
"It was a flag 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."
An Iranian Jewish woman said:
"I was here as a proud Jew in all of my identities. The Dyke March is supposed to be intersectional. I don't know why my identity is excluded from that. I felt that, as a Jew, I am not welcome here."
The organizer told Chicagoist (emphasis added):
"Yesterday during the rally we saw three individuals carrying Israeli flags super imposed on rainbow flags. Some folks say they are Jewish Pride flags. But as a Collective we are very much pro-Palestine, and when we see these flags we know a lot of folks who are under attack by Israel see the visuals of the flag as a threat, so we don't want anything in the [Dyke March] space that can inadvertently or advertently express Zionism," she said. "So we asked the folks to please leave. We told them people in the space were feeling threatened."
I'm baffled. We aren't supposed to question what people identify as, right? If these people identify as queer and Jewish, shouldn't they take pride in that and celebrate that? And if they claim their flag is a Jewish Pride flag, who are the organizers to dispute that?
But the bigger issue is the group's ignorance of what the Star of David is and the institutional acceptance of - and requirement for participants to accept - anti-semitism. The Star of David is on the Israeli flag, sure, but it's not exclusively an Israeli symbol. It has been a symbol of Judaism for centuries. Laurel Grauer even had a discussion with Dyke March officials, spelling out that she is pro-Israeli, but she is also in support of a two-state solution and an independent Palestine. But that wasn't good enough. Organizers claim that the organization Grauer works for, A Wider Bridge, uses "Israel's supposed 'LGBTQ tolerance' to pinkwash the violent occupation of Palestine."
Grauer was dismayed by the qualifications for inclusion in the community.
"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."
There were plenty of other flags at the Dyke March, but the American flag - a symbol of oppression, according to organizers - was also banned.
What's next for Dyke March officials? Will they ask participants to fill out a detailed social issue position questionnaire prior to admittance?