LGBTQ leaders uphold selection of Bradley Manning as SF Pride grand marshal

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  • Encourage SF PRIDE! to reinstate Bradley Manning as a Grand Marshal – SF Pride Offices: 415.864.0831; SF Pride President Lisa Williams: 415.424.9660;; Fax: 415.864.5889
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  • First published by the SF Bay Guardian

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.

Read complete statement here

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.
Supporters of Bradley Manning marching in SF Pride 2011.

Join us again this year on Sunday, June 30, 2013!
Contact Michael Thurman to RSVP: