A group of gay activists has called a protest against the San Francisco Pride Committee’s rescinding of naming as a Grand Marshal openly gay whistleblower, Bradley Manning, a US Army soldier who was arrested in 2010 in Iraq on suspicion of having passed classified material to the website Wikileaks. Manning was charged with a number of offenses including communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source and aiding the enemy. The 25 year old’s trial is expected to begin in June 2013.
The action is being organized by gay peace and social justice activists Michael Petrelis, Tommi Avicolli Mecca, and Lisa Geduldig. “Our message to SF Pride is that they should make Manning a Grand Marshal of this year’s Pride March and Celebration because of his brave act of whistleblowing against the military industrial complex,” said Petrelis. “We are fed up with marriage and military concerns sucking the oxygen out of what used to be a queer movement and Pride March and Celebration about social justice for queers,” Petrelis added. Some don’t think Manning should be a Grand Marshal of the parade, albeit in absentia—that he doesn’t represent or further the causes of LGBT people. Co-organizer Geduldig points out, “He’s an antiwar hero, a whistleblower who is gay. He was lipsynching to Lady Gaga while downloading classified documents. It doesn’t get more gay than that.”