Reporter for Windy City Times removed from her position, for uncovering the truth about the Chicago Dyke March.
Gretchen Rachel Hammond of the Windy City Times covered a piece on the “voice of Chicago’s gay, lesbian, bi, trans and queer community,” the article talked about how some women were asked to leave the Dyke March, as the rainbow flags they were carrying contained Jewish stars on them. It has been noted that during the march on the 24th of June, that three women were kicked out from participating in the march.
Laurel Grauer, was amongst the women that were asked to leave. She stated, “They were telling me to leave because my flag was a trigger to people that they found offensive,” and that, “Prior to this [march] I had never been harassed or asked to leave and I had always carried the flag with me.”
Ellie Otra, another women that was kicked out, stated that the organizers “whispered” and “pointed” at her and that she was asked to either “roll up my Jewish Pride flag or leave.”
“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,” Ellie Otra stated in her post on Facebook. “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.”
She further stated, “I was thrown out of Dyke March for being Jewish. And yes, there were other Jews there, visible ones even, who weren’t accosted, who had fun, even! And yes, Israel exists in a complicated way. But in this case, it doesn’t matter what Israel does or doesn’t do. This was about being Jewish in public, and I was thrown out for being Jewish, for being the “wrong” of Jew, the kind of Jew who shows up with a big Jewish star on a flag. No matter how much I tried to avoid conflict, to explain. Oh, maybe there was a way I could have stayed, but rolling up my beautiful proud flag for them would have been an even bigger loss.”
In her interview with the Israel Times, Hammond stated that she was moved to the sales department and is currently on the lookout for an editorial job.
“Right now I’m in the sales department,” she told the Times of Israel on Monday. “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. As an employee of Windy City Times who has loved the company and loved her role in the company for the past four years, I have to respect my publisher’s decision.”
The Windy Times have confirmed Hammond has been moved, but failed to provide any explanation on as to why the move was made.
Tracy Baim, publisher and executive editor for the paper stated, “I cannot comment on our people, but know that we stand by our reporting on our stories.”