Recently, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee announced that openly gay Army whistleblower PFC Bradley Manning would be honored as a grand marshal for the largest gathering of LGBT (lesbian gay bisexual transgender) people and allies in the United States.
PFC Manning was selected for one of our community’s highest accolades because he helped reveal unpunished war crimes, the Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture, and other disturbing and previously secret foreign policies. PFC Manning has already pleaded guilty to charges that will carry a 20-year prison sentence. The military still pursues a life sentence.
Then, the SF Pride Board of Directors retracted the invitation, stating:
“Bradley Manning will not be a grand marshal in this year’s San Francisco Pride celebration. …. even the hint of support for actions which placed in harm’s way the lives of our men and women in uniform — and countless others, military and civilian alike —will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride.”
The SF Pride Board of Directors is parroting the US military, offering uncritical support for the military’s anti-Manning smear campaign. Most experts believe Manning’s actions endangered no one.
After being challenged by many members of the LGBTQ community, the SF Pride Board issued another statement explaining that the election of Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal was a procedural error. They did not retract the statement made earlier by the Pride Board President which was widely publicized.
Their statements are disgraceful. No matter who you believe should be Grand Marshal or what you think about Bradley Manning’s case, the SF Pride Committee’s unconditional support of the military should make your skin crawl.
The Dyke March has always opposed U.S. militarism, rejected corporate sponsors, and supported people who risk their lives to further freedom, transparency, and democracy.
The Dyke March has a working relationship with SF Pride. Like the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, as well as some local businesses that serve the queer communities, Pride has provided financial support to the Dyke March. Nevertheless, we believe, as members of a family, we should be critical and express our opinions even when they differ. We cannot be silent regarding the unjust condemnation of Bradley Manning by SF Pride’s Board of Directors.
We honor LGBTQ people and all people who refuse to be silent in the face of oppression and repression.