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San Francisco gay pride rescinds honour for Bradley Manning-Bows To Gay Militarists

by repost
Bowing to pro-war gay militarists the Pride Board rescinded honoring of Bradley Manning
San Francisco gay pride rescinds honour for Bradley Manning "the Pride board decided his nomination would be a mistake" bowing to rightwing gay militarists
San Francisco gay pride rescinds honour for Bradley Manning
SF Pride president says notification that WikiLeaks suspect would be honorary grand marshal was 'an error'

• Associated Press in San Francisco

•, Saturday 27 April 2013 09.10 EDT

• Jump to comments (200)

Bradley Manning. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP
The president of San Francisco's annual gay pride celebration said on Friday that Bradley Manning, the US Army private who is charged in a massive leak of US secrets to the WikiLeaks website, will not be an honorary grand marshal after all.

SF Pride board president Lisa Williams said in a statement that an employee of the organization had prematurely notified imprisoned intelligence specialist Manning this week that he had been selected for the distinction, which recognizes about a dozen celebrities, politicians and community organizations each year for their contributions to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

"That was an error, and that person has been disciplined. He does not now, nor did he at that time, speak for SF Pride," Williams said.

A committee of former San Francisco Pride grand marshals did select the 25-year-old Manning, who is openly gay, for the honor, but the Pride board decided his nomination would be a mistake, Williams said.

Manning's lawyers have argued that his experience as a soldier before the repeal of the US military's ban on gay service played an important role in his decision to pass hundreds of thousands of sensitive items to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

"In point of fact, less than 15 people actually cast votes for Bradley Manning," Williams said. "However, as an organization with a responsibility to serve the broader community, SF Pride repudiates this vote."

While the event's grand marshals are typically celebrated as they wave from convertibles during a downtown San Francisco parade, naming Manning as one was destined to be a symbolic gesture. He is in custody at a military prison in Kansas while he awaits court-martial and would have been unable to attend the 30 June parade.

Earlier Friday, Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who in 1971 leaked the classified information about the Vietnam War that became known as the Pentagon Papers, had agreed to participate in the San Francisco parade on Manning's behalf, said Rainey Reitman, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network who had cheered the short-lived recognition.

"I and many other LGBT Manning supporters are deeply disappointed by this sudden change in position on the part of the committee," Reitman said. "Bradley is a gay American hero who sacrificed a great deal so we could learn the truth about our government, and he was fairly elected to serve as grand marshal in the parade."

Contingents of Manning supporters have marched in past pride parades, and will do so again this year in San Francisco, Chicago, San Diego and other cities, she said. But other gay rights activists were less enthusiastic about celebrating Manning, arguing that he should not be honored either as an individual or as a representative of the gay rights movement.

"Manning's blatant disregard for the safety of our service members and the security of our nation should not be praised," said Stephen Peters, president of American Military Partners Association. The group, which advocates for same-sex military families, had called on the Pride Committee to rescind the invitation. "No community of such a strong and resilient people should be represented by the treacherous acts that define Bradley Manning," Peters said.
by Patricia Jackson
The original Pride marches were fueled by militant spirits of Stonewall and Compton Café rebellions. “Come out of the closets and into the streets,” became a militant clarion call. Our revolutionary spirit spawned lesbians and gays who later took part in Act Up, gay health collectives and groups like Radical Faeries, and Lesbians and Gays Against Intervention (LAGAI), which supported international liberation struggles.

In the ‘70s, we of the Gay Liberation Front broke open those closet doors, not only for dazzling dances down cities’ main streets for one day in June, but for ending all oppressions. Our marches since have morphed into parades with corporate sponsors that have kidnapped our militancy with beer booths.

Our LGBTQ whistleblower hero, Bradley Manning, spent his December 2012 25th and third birthday behind bars in a military prison. Bradley was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq on suspicion of having passed classified material to the WikiLeaks website. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange praised Bradley Manning as a hero who revealed to the world the 2007 Baghdad air strike by an American helicopter that wounded children, killed their father and 11 other men including a news reporter and his driver. For his courageous act, Bradley Manning remains in prison following his first nine months of pretrial incarceration in a 6×8 ft cell under solitary conditions described as “degrading and inhuman” by the United Nations. Bradley has been tortured, humiliated and kept in isolated solitary confinement for years and faces trial on 22 charges, including aiding the enemy. Bradley struggles in an environment hostile to homosexuality - including times he was forced to strip naked and once made to stand at attention while nude. Because of Bradley’s bravery, the world witnessed the true horrors of war. Bradley remains strong and like many youth talks of his future, to be free to go to college. “I want to make a difference. I want to make a difference in this world.”

How hypocritical to espuse "Dont' Ask; Don't Tell." It seems what some really mean is Don't Ask; Don't Care." All of us queers and allies will be out in the streets this year to show support for Bradley and that these so-called, self-appointed leaders do not speak for us.
by cs
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