Bradley Manning, while on active duty, at a Washington DC Pride march, summer 2009
May 2, 2013
Recently, it was announced that PFC Bradley Manning would be a grand
marshal of the 2013 San Francisco Pride Celebration. We felt this
decision was a bold and uplifting choice, bestowing a great May honor on
a young whistleblower being persecuted for following his conscience.
Much to our disappointment, two days later SF Pride board president
Lisa Williams issued a separate announcement that the SF Pride board
would not be honoring PFC Manning as a grand marshal after all. It
appears the SF pride board’s reversal was affected by criticism from a
recently formed gay military rights group.
We want the world to know that the SF Pride board’s decision is not
reflective of the LGBTQ community as a whole, and that many of us
proudly celebrate PFC Manning as a member of our community.
Unfortunately, the statements by Williams, and the group which
originally advocated against PFC Manning as grand marshal, continue to
perpetuate certain factual inaccuracies with regards to the military
prosecution against him.
The first inaccuracy would be that PFC Manning did not advocate for
gay rights. In fact, while serving in the military, PFC Manning
experienced harassment and physical assault because of his perceived
sexuality. He responded by marching against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the
DC pride parade, where he spoke to reporters about his position, in
addition to attending a fundraiser with Gavin Newsom and the Stonewall
Democrats so he could discuss the issue of homophobia in the military.
He told a friend in February of 2009 that his experience living under
DADT and experiencing the oppression that entailed helped increase his
interest in politics more generally....
Millions of people around the world support Bradley for the personal
risk he took in sharing realities of complicated U.S. foreign conflicts
with the American people. He is the only gay U.S. serviceperson to be
nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. In joining the Army,
soldiers take an oath to protect the U.S. Constitution, and we believe
that by his actions PFC Manning strengthened our democracy, and
fulfilled that oath to a greater degree than most enlisted.
We are proud to embrace PFC Bradley Manning as one of our icons, and
intend to march for him in pride contingents across the country this
year, as we have in years past. We think Bradley Manning sets a high
standard for what a U.S. serviceperson, gay or straight, can be.
Lt. Dan Choi – 2009 SF Pride Celebrity Grand Marshal, anti-DADT activist Joey Cain – 2008 SF Pride Community Grand Marshal, past Board Member and President of SF Pride Gary Virginia – 2012 SF Pride Community Grand Marshal John Caldera – Commander, American Legion Bob Basker Post 315ED & SF Veterans For Peace Susie Bright – Public speaker, educator, and writer Adele Carpenter – Civilian-Soldier Alliance, SF Chapter Gabriel Conaway – Equality activist; Steering Committee of SAME Dossie Easton – Therapist and author Leslie Feinberg – Transgender author and activist Stephen Eagle Funk – Artistic Director, Veteran Artists Glenn Greenwald – Award-winning journalist Evan Greer – Radical queer riotfolk musician Liz Henry – Poet and activist Lori Hurlebaus – Civilian Soldier Alliance, SF Chapter; Co-founder, Courage to Resist Pat Humphries – Musician, Emma’s Revolution Sergei Kostin - Art Director, CODEPINK Women for Peace Sandy Opatow – Musician, Emma’s Revolution Malachy Kilbride – Coordinating Committee, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance Pamela Means – Award-winning OUT musician Minnie-Bruce Pratt – Award-winning poet, activist and educator Rainey Reitman – Steering Committee, Bradley Manning Support Network Oliver Shykles – Queer Friends of Bradley Manning Peter Tatchell – Founder, Peter Tatchell Foundation Andy Thayer – Co-founder, Gay Liberation Network Lori Selke – Author and activist Becca von Behren - Staff Attorney, Swords to Plowshares Veterans Service Organization Kit Yan – Queer & trans Asian-American poet Organizations listed for identification purposes only
Supporters of Bradley Manning marching in SF Pride 2011.
Join us again this year on Sunday, June 30, 2013!
Contact Michael Thurman to RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org