In the wake of the debacle unleashed by San Francisco Pride’s announcement that gay whistleblower Bradley Manning would not be grand marshal for this year's Pride Parade after all, a large crowd of protesters assembled outside Pride’s Market Street headquarters April 29 for a hastily organized rally condemning the move. They held signs depicting Manning’s image, and chanted, “Grand marshal, not court martial!”Read more »
"I was one of the 15 former grand marshals on the electoral commission that voted for Bradley Manning," Barry Saiff, former BiNet president, told me over the phone this morning from Washington, DC, about the Bradley Manning Pride grand marshalship controversy. (As one half of a bi-national queer couple, he lives most of the year in the Phillipines with his boyfriend, who is unable to come to the United States due to discriminatory immigration laws.)
To recap: An 'electoral college' of former grand marshals elected the jailed gay (possibly now transgender) whistleblower who provided Wikileaks with a huge dump of raw classified US government info. Someone announced the choice on Friday and the media went nuts. Then the Pride executive director issued this bizarre statement repudiating the decision and rescinding the honor, to the dismay of the electoral college and a huge swath of LGBT locals. A protest at Pride HQ is planned for today, 5pm at 1841 Market, SF.)
"The list of nominees from the other board members was presented to me in March, and the instant I saw Bradley's name on there I knew it was the right choice. Pride stands for justice, freedom, and an end to discrimination, and I feel Bradley represents all of these things -- as well as complete honesty and bravery. What the Pride board did to repudiate that choice, especially in its official statement -- to not be able to make the distinction between Manning's necessary actions and way the government is denigrating our troops with these illegal and unjust wars -- is the height of stupidity.
"They [the Pride board] are colluding in the giant 'Support Our Troops' hoax that says you must never question the leadership of the military. There is actually no contradiction between supporting our troops as individuals, including our LGBT folks in the armed services, and supporting Bradley Manning and what he did.
So. Pride did a thing. After years of being no more politically risky than an bowl of strawberry Jell-O, the Pride committee -- or some kind of mole within the Pride committee, according to SF Pride board president Lisa L. Williams' utterly weird statement about the whole thing -- announced that Bradley Manning (a.k.a. Breanna Manning), jailed and pallid hero of the Wikileaks generation, soon to face court-martialling, was to be a Pride Grand Marshall.
An honor usually reserved for washed up TV actresses who once said the word "gay" on CBS prime time in the '80s and craven politicos with dead eyes and hard hair, the Grand Marshallship has before this stirred up about as much controversy outside the community as the color beige. And yet, on Friday afternoon, the world's head exploded. (The canny queen who leaked the decision sure knew her press cycles -- Wikileaks lives!) When your dad in Detroit calls you almost immediately after the news breaks to ask how you're covering it, you know its grabbing virtual headlines.
Does the idea of one of SF's best-known drag fashionistas rendered in massivem inflatable form excite you? You then, are the target audience for this item of news: Juanita More has announced that multimedia artist Desi Santiago will lend his dark, dramatic style to her yearly Pride party in 2013 as its set designer.
"Desi is someone with great vision," More told me in an email. That vision has produced black dogs that swallowed a South Beach hotel whole, outfits that appear to be made from different garments when viewed from various vantage points, atmospheric runway sets, and extravagant works various couture happenings. Read more »
It's best (they say) to treat Pride as the proverbial marathon in place of sprint -- despite the fact that there is about one thousand openings-parties-dog walks happening this year that you'll no doubt be careening between. May we recommend a darling divey wine happy hour as your own personal kick-off for this year of queer festivities? El Rio's semi-weekly Mugsy Wine Bar on Fri/15 would fit the bill nicely -- and will give you the chance to try local pours made by local queers, people of color, and families that will be perfect for your larder as you traipse ever-closer to Gay Christmas. Read more »
The lovely ladies from the Lusty Lady will be at Dolores Park on Sun/9 raising money for their SF Pride float. "11am-until we run out of treats, fresh baked ho-cakes made with love," is how one of the Lusty's dancer put it.