Oh look, suddenly Pride is interesting

I just like the name "Manning"

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.

The announcement has since been officially rescinded by Pride in the tone-deafest of ways (LOL at the whole statement, really -- especially how the Grand Marshalls "serve to represent the highest aspirations of the LGBT community": so, um, Cloris Leachman, Cyndi Lauper, Sarah Silverman?), causing even more uproar. And suddenly people are discovering or rediscovering that Pride is a bland yet militant corporate entity that long ago strayed from its politically activist roots even while it claims to represent us all. Facebook is aflame with locals up in arms over Pride's cowardice in the face of its criminal corporate sponsors, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, and its gross media partners like Clear Channel.

I found it pretty serendipitous that this week the Bay Guardian ran an interview with the founder of Gay Shame, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, about her new book The End of San Francisco, which in a personal and emotional way describes the amnesia that keeps gripping SF queer activism when it comes to Pride's, and the gay community at large's, utter Borg of assimilationism and sell-outitude. In the late '90s and early 2000s, Mattilda and her organization were protesting all of Pride's crap -- particularly funny was a parade route "Budweiser Vomitorium" where you could "puke up your sponsorship pride" and a notorious anti-Parade during which a huge brass band of queer freaks marched directly into the oncoming Pride parade's path, causing chaos. Gay Shame was also getting tons of shit for its important antics from people claiming that Pride was already "too political" hahaha. 

Mattilda's in town to read her book; it's going to be a pretty lively reading now. She shared this searing Glenn Greenwald piece on the Manning debacle in the Guardian, that's been burning up the Internet. As usual, Mattilda has a double-take that's enlightening:

"Glenn Greenwald is an extremely eloquent critic of state tyranny, using his training as a lawyer to relentlessly disassemble the hypocritical claims of corporate governmental powerbrokers (even though he still seemed to be supporting Obama when I saw him speak shortly before the “election”). But, at the same time, Greenwald is almost dogmatic in his support for the gay marriage agenda – this seems an unfortunate example of allowing self-interest (he is in a spousal relationship with a Brazilian man) to block self-awareness. In other words, he never makes the obvious connections between his critique of institutional power and the gay establishment’s obsession with accessing that same power through a never-ending obsession with marriage and military inclusion, hate crimes legislation, etc. But, here in this brilliant and scathing piece, he finally seems to be making those connections. Could he become an anti-assimilationist critic, after all?"

I wonder if the same anti-assimilationist energy is striking a lot of queer people over this Manning thing. The fact that these kinds of issues are coming up again at all right now -- especially when same-sex marriage is before the Supreme Court and Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been rescinded -- is extremely interesting. Could an actual protest movement like Gay Shame rise from the embers of assimilation? You bet your sweet Breanna. And check out Monday's protest outside the SF Pride office, 1841 Market at 5pm. Also this at Pride itself.

I may actually have to go to this year's parade! 

PS Now if we could only get the house-trained "radicals" of the Pride celebration's Faerie Freedom Village into the street to actually do a thing -- that would be something.   


You were born too late if you seek struggle and oppression, rather than a 2-bed million-dollar condo well above the Castro.

Gaydom was assimilated and now it's all about the pink dollar. Two homes on my very gay block off 17th recently sold for over 2 million each.

Heck, even Marcos sold out.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 10:15 am

Nobody sold out, our movement was purchased out from under us.

Large numbers of liberal-to-radical LGBT oppose the perpetual war machine and are proud of what Manning did and that he is one of us. There is no assimilation/anti-assimilation at play here. Just the hijacking of broad and diverse movements and communities by one narrow political and economic agenda. That hijacking does not reflect the sentiments of most LGBT in SF and that is why it will fail.

There is a difference between insisting that marriage is the be all and end all of the gay agenda due to proponents being able to purchase a spot at the top of our agenda for it and between recognizing marriage as one of many legitimate choices. Radical queers tend to grant everyone the autonomy to chart their own path so long as that autonomy is reciprocal.

The radical faeries are not radical in the sense of direct political action nor are we house trained, Marke is cluelessly barking up the wrong tree there. "Can't get laid at a prison with a stack of pardons" is kinda like "can't get laid at a faeries party."

Poor Marke.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

Tired bs from a tired paper that's a corporate sellout

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

Yet here you are reading the "tired paper." Way to lead by example, guest.

Posted by Jack on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

but constantly posting remarks.

Posted by Michael W. on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

Hey - I get it, Tilly! We all need to make a buck.

You've got a few books out there and you've built a career around being anti-assimilation. That's great - I get it and support it and love talking about. I really do.

Ideological conversations like these are vital to the intellectual well being of any minority culture especially the LGBT world that is plunging deeply into the mainstream after years of being ankle deep.

I wish you didn't generalize quite so much about everything, though. Not all married couples (like me and my husband) are pro-military or pro-assimilation or middle class consumerist sell out whatevers out to destroy multi-culturalism.

Anyway if this Bradley Manning moment really takes hold in SF for the next two months we may very well have the most exciting June in SF that either of us have seen. My disagreements with your opinions won't stop me from joining you in a rally against the morons sitting at the table with their wallets open.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

I like Bernstien's schtick, but a shtickmeister is still a schtickmeister and schtickmeisters like Marke B. pander schtickmeisters to the masses. None of it is legitimate unless you're convincing others to give money to you.

A true radical would never consider turning rebellion into money.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 1:04 pm
Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

If self promoting circus animals could have lead us anywhere, they'd have lead us there by now.

There are no short cuts, hard work has to be done and if the work is going to be of any impact, by definition, there will by no monetary compensation.

Not only is it questionable to turn rebellion into money, it turns out that you can't turn corporate money into rebellion either.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

criticisms -- vicious, pithy nastiness directed in scattershot manner over the field of progressives; just to shake things up and draw some blood

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

Are we feeling vulnerable yet?

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

Don't worry, it's just an illusion. You're still just being a virtual dick-waver.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

We're a movement not a market and you can read/hear all about it and actually experience a bit by buying a book or a ticket.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

Every time I hear, the Sonics, Ramones, Psychic TV, The Stooges, or anyone else Rolling Stone magazine gave shitty reviews to at the time in a commercial

The gay rights movement has arrived, just like Green Day, Blink 182, and Rancid.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

Outsiders who become insiders need to stomp on other outsiders, to prove their loyalty to their new friends.

Posted by Alan SF on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

The neighborhood elementary had a tamale contest yesterday and wafting through the air was the sound of a cover band playing "Blitzkrieg Bop."

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

Sonic Reducer by the Dead Boys.

Everyone sat down and waited for the music they heard on the Bone to start again.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

Screw the people who got you here. Suck up to the people who hate you.

Brilliant politics from the people who locked gay families in the closet so they could lose the Prop 8 fight for us.

Posted by Alan SF on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

This is occupying the attention of maybe 20-30 homos in a 12-block radius of the Mission and Castro. Everyone else just wants to party.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

I'm a homo, and I'm at least 15 blocks from 17th and Castro. You know that most LGBTQ people could never afford an apartment there now thanks to the gentrification you love, right?

Posted by HeartTenderloin on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

Questioning? What about TS for two spirit?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 7:55 pm

I agree that Pride has been obvious for quite a while in terms of the corporate culture embrace - since the 1990s, Pride has consistently embraced corporate America at the expense of activist movements. As a political statement, Pride in cities like San Francisco is becoming increasing irrelevant. (This isn't as true in cities where Pride still has a strong grassroots tinge, like in Boise).

But I disagree that there should be some kind of correlation drawn between corporate culture/assimilation and marriage rights. Marriage rights are important for plenty of reasons. There are material reasons why working-class LGBTQ people need the benefits that come with marriage - benefits like healthcare and hospital visitations rights. This is why activists like Sherry Wolf recognize that marriage is an important reform.

There needs to be no dichotomy drawn between the struggle for marriage and the struggle for other forms of economic rights for LGBTQ people. We can demand the right to marry AND the right to free HIV medication, affordable housing, an end to LGBTQ youth homelessness, etc. But we can't do so if we pretend that the community has nothing to do with political activism - if we pretend that the community is simply a wing of the Democratic Party. LGBTQ people are not footsoldiers for corporate America and we're more than a target demographic for markets. We are people intent on changing the society we live under for the better as well.

Posted by HeartTenderloin on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

The ability of wealthy homosexuals to purchase their way to the head of our agenda on their conservative, narrow-based and divisive campaigns, military and marriage stoked a backlash that resulted in 15 years of electoral trouncings and poisoned the well for noncontroversial reforms like housing and job discrimination protections which have enjoyed broad bases and majority support for as long.

From a strategic prioritization perspective, the conservative hijacking of the LGBT political agenda has come at the cost of housing and job stress for LGBT in the flyover.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

OMG!!!! All this MENTAL MASTURBATIONI think I don't even have to touch myself....

Posted by GuestTrickster on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 10:03 pm

"the house-trained "radicals" of the Pride celebration's Faerie Freedom Village into the street to actually do a thing" - you mean instead of staying in their little fenced enclosure and wanking furiously to the rapt attention of absolutely no one?


Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

Manning is not a poster-boy for LGBT rights.

Manning's involvement with WikiLeaks was the act of a immature petulant child.

Fighting discrimination is not what Manning did.

If anything, Manning shines as a bright example for the bigots who say that LGBT people should not serve in the military because they cannot be trusted and mentally unstable.

He does not represent me or the other thousands of LGBT veterans and active-duty service members who take their oaths to protect and defend the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.

Posted by A Pissed Off Gay Veteran on May. 01, 2013 @ 11:58 am

some may dismiss this as a tempest in a teapot, but the incredible number of trolls (especially given the context of the SF gay movement, even its most mainstream elements, who are highly unlikely to see Bradley Manning as a 'traitor' in large numbers) suggests otherwise. as with other situations in which hate multiplies (from HIV denialism to bizarre pseudoconspiracy theories that tend to discredit valid expose of the system, etc) like this, the reason is always the powerful interests that see the strategic importance of trashing someone, especially in a given context or situation. here, the question is whether the gay movement, which is at the mass base especially in NYC and SF apt to be sympathetic to ANTI-imperialist politics and to whistleblowers like Manning, is going to buck the powers that be in this country, including Obama, who pronounced on this case suggesting that Bradley Manning was guilty. If major mainstream gay pride marches in SF (and NY) honor Bradley Manning, it is apt to lay the basis for an anti-imperialist gay rights movement overall, rather than one, at this point of strength, merely devoted to accomodation of the same system to be more gay friendly, but still the same old crap otherwise.

So this really is an historic struggle, even though it may seem trivial to some. A small minority of SOME (not all and not necessarily most) gay rights advocates in the military and among vets should not veto what the vast majority feel, by means of dictaat from above, as here

Posted by cloudy on May. 02, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

Grand Marshalls "serve to represent the highest aspirations of the LGBT community": so, um, Cloris Leachman, Cyndi Lauper, Sarah Silverman?)

Those would be Celebrity Marshals

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 9:59 pm

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