Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08



SlutWalk 2016 defies police to take back Chicago streets
by Gretchen Rachel Hammond

This article shared 904 times since Mon Aug 22, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

SlutWalk collective member Red Schulte described it as a "tug of war" with officers of the Chicago Police Department ( CPD ) when more than 700 participants of SlutWalk Chicago 2016 set out to reclaim the streets of the Magnificent Mile Aug. 20.

At stake was each SlutWalkers' right to turn those streets into an inclusive space that echoed with an impassioned "demand an end to rape culture, victim blaming, slut shaming and whorephobia."

Pitted against them was the CPD's determination to restrict the marchers to the Magnificent Mile's sidewalks.

With no prior knowledge of the route the SlutWalk was going to take, the CPD were often seen scrambling to herd participants using officers on bicycles and Segways as a human barricade.

However, the resolve of each member of the now five-year-old annual protest—fueled by anger at the systematic degradation and criminalization of the female body and a profound cry for the freedom, dignity and sanctuary of that body from attack whether through humiliation, violence or society's confinement—was often enough to turn the war to the marcher's favor.

Those moments were heralded by a resounding cheer when the bicycles fell back and the SlutWalkers claimed even a single block's worth of pavement as "our streets."

Whenever the CPD would not back down, the SlutWalk became a mass sit-in as participants took a break and instead blocked the northbound lane of the Michigan Avenue bridge and the intersection of Michigan and Ohio while becoming a consolidated megaphone that repeated the story of women like Alisha Walker who was convicted in January of second degree murder by a Cook County Jury and sentenced to 15 years in the death of a high school teacher—an act which Walker asserted was one of self-defense.

The SlutWalk would then resume its path north on Michigan Avenue until another intersection brought another stand-off with the CPD.

To bystanders, it was difficult to tell who was in control.

The SlutWalkers never once seemed to waiver. It was not so much that the CPD were able to force them to the sidewalks, but that the marchers felt like they were better served as venues to deliver messages to Magnificent Mile shoppers such as "teach your sons not to rape."

The day began with a noon rally at Millennium Park's Chicago Bean.

As the SlutWalkers gathered, it was employees of the park's private security firm who set themselves up as the event's primary antagonists.

They demanded that those women who had removed their tops immediately cover-up again, despite the fact that the marchers were protected from illegality by creatively designed pasties.

"We accept each other," a SlutWalk collective member declared. "There are people here in T-shirts and jeans, there are people here who choose to be top-free and we are not ashamed."

When members of the SlutWalk Collective tried to use a megaphone, Millennium Park Security ordered that it be switched off.

Ironically, when the CPD were called in and Schulte calmly explained the peaceful intention of the rally reminding them that each participant was well within her, his or their legal rights, Millennium Park Security was overruled despite their insistence that the area around The Bean was privately owned and subject to its own rules.

Those rules included a confusingly stated ordinance that members of the press have special permission to use a camera "that looks like it's for commercial and not personal use."

So, instead of using a megaphone, the SlutWalkers turned themselves into one.

The words "mic check" signaled a sentence-by-sentence repeat of the rally's messages with one hundred times the volume of any amplified sound system.

A small counter-protest had also gathered at The Bean.

Three men held up graphic and disturbing pictures of aborted, bloodied fetuses. They had also brought a megaphone through which they declared their opposition to abortion and various ultimatums that the SlutWalkers heed their Christian directives.

Millennium Park Security left them alone.

The SlutWalkers didn't and, instead, surrounded them with their bodies in order to combat violence with beauty and drown out religious intolerance with declarations of freedom.

Even the deafening sound of passing jets from the Chicago Air and Water Show could not prevail over the SlutWalkers rejection of "Language and mindsets that perpetuate rape culture, victim blaming, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia."

Schulte pointed out the "hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by this city making spectacles like the Air and Water Show happen when schools on the South and West sides are shut down."

"There is lead in the fucking water in Pilsen," Schulte said. "We are taking this commercial space for a reason. We have to take these public spaces back."

Those reasons were spelled out by speakers like Zilla— a representative of the Black Rose Anarchist Federation.

"When it comes to violence perpetuated against female-identified people and trans folks, the police and state as we have seen it are really not on our side," Zilla said before citing the cases of Marissa Alexander and CeCe McDonald—both of whom received long jail terms for acting in self-defense.

By contrast, Zilla named men such as Stanford University student Brock Turner who received a six month sentence for the sexual assault of a young woman and University of Colorado-Boulder student Austin Wilkerson who received two years of work release after raping a college freshman.

"College campuses across the country have been silencing, expelling, ignoring survivors or rape, sexual assault and targeted gender-based violence with Title IX," Schulte said. "They say [Title IX] is our only way to get justice. We call 'bullshit.' Justice is not a university covering its ass, slashing crucial resources on campus while at the same time over-paying wannabe cops who call themselves advocates in Title IX offices."

Schulte instead urged the SlutWalkers to imagine and build communities "Based on providing care. We must win a better world."

The SlutWalk then set off to do precisely that in a relentless will to "take the streets."

Their chants of "whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes, no means no" resounded along Michigan Avenue whether they were marching or sitting.

Despite such well-formed unity, there were moments when SlutWalk organizers had to quickly improvise.

When the CPD refused to allow the SlutWalkers to end the event at the Chicago Water Tower, the marchers continued north and instead gathered at the John Hancock Center to tell stories their deeply personal stories of survival.

One woman said that the SlutWalk was the only place she felt safe. As she broke into tears, she was immediately surrounded on all sides by her fellow marchers who hugged her tightly and assured her that, for as long as they were together and for as long as they had anything to say about it, she was.

This article shared 904 times since Mon Aug 22, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Rabbi taken hostage in Texas LGBTQ-friendly synagogue expresses thanks
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who was among the four hostages freed Jan. 15 from a Dallas-area synagogue, said there was "no question" the experience was traumatic, and thanked the community and world for the prayers and love, ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Lambda Legal, Penn. city's change, couple on the run, Bayard Rustin
Lambda Legal filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society, Inc. on behalf of a former employee who was fired after they and other Dallas Arboretum ...

Gay News

LaVine injured in Bulls' blowout loss to Golden State
The Chicago Bulls (27-13) haven't been together as an entire team in a while because of injuries and COVID-19 health protocols. According to The Chicago Tribune, the latest injury occurred roughly 3� minutes into the Jan. ...

Gay News

Veterans Administration health records now display gender identity
-- Press release from The American Veterans for Equal Rights - WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs began including gender identifiers in its national medical record system in December 2021 to help VA providers better understand and meet the health care needs of Veterans. Providing this ...

Gay News

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund ED urges action on voting rights
-- From a press release - "The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund urges the U.S. Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Voting rights are a cornerstone of our democratic process and ...

Gay News

Plaintiff in historic Florida marriage-equality lawsuit found dead
In Florida, Jorge Diaz-Johnston was recently found dead in a Jackson County landfill, ABC News reported. Diaz-Johnston, 54, was reported missing on Jan. 3 near his workplace and police are investigating his death as a homicide, ...

Gay News

French gay and bisexual men can donate blood starting March 16
Starting in March, gay and bisexual French men will no longer be restricted from donating blood, The Hill reported. "We are ending an inequality that was no longer justified," French Minister for Solidarity and Health Olivier ...

Gay News

Global reports show pervasiveness of conversion therapy info
Two reports released from the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) expose how tech companies have failed to de-platform anti-LGBTQ+ conversion therapy disinformation and ban providers pushing the discredited ...

Gay News

Center on Halsted states COVID vaccine, mask requirements
Center on Halsted, in compliance with the City of Chicago public health order effective Jan. 3, requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination for anyone (ages 5 and older) gathering in its ground-floor lobby area. Other events and ...

Gay News

COVID Chicago travel advisory remains unchanged
Chicago's COVID travel advisory remains the same. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) did not add or remove any states or territories from its COVID-19 Travel Advisory on Jan. 11. For the second consecutive week, ...

Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot tests positive for COVID-19
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that she's tested positive for COVID-19. On Jan. 11, she issued a statement saying, "Earlier today, I tested positive for COVID-19. I am experiencing cold-like symptoms but otherwise feel fine which ...

Gay News

COVID Insurers to cover at-home tests
Beginning Saturday, Jan. 15, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans, The Chicago Tribune reported. The Biden administration announced the change Jan. ...

Gay News

Chicago Public Schools to reopen Jan. 12
Following a deadlock that spanned four school days, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) approved a proposal for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to resume in-person classes Wed., Jan. 12, The Chicago Tribune reported. The delegates also voted ...

Gay News

LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Youth Led Study on Youth and Young Adult COVID-19 Vaccination Finds Surprising Results
—From a news release - BOULDER, CO - Out Boulder County in partnership with El Centro AMISTAD and Unwoven Ventures with the leadership of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) youth created ...

Gay News

Lightfoot announces director for new public-safety commission
On Jan. 10, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that Adam Gross will be the first-ever executive director of the newly created Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability. "The establishment of a community-led Commission for oversight ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.