Former Pride grand marshal: Manning is LGBT hero, Board action 'height of stupidity'

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PHOTO OF BRADLEY MANNING VIA UK GUARDIAN

"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.

"Specifically, if we care about our troops, we should care that they are used by our military for just ends, for missions and goals that actually increase our security, rather than decrease it, and that they are dealt with honestly. And, regardless of how you feel about the rightness or wrongness of Manning's actions, there is no question that it is both immoral and illegal under international law (the US is a signatory to the Convention Against Torture), that he was tortured by the USA. Bradley Manning is an American hero, and an LGBT hero. We can rightfully be proud of him. He will rightly be remembered long after his duplicitous superiors are forgotten.

"What the Pride Board should have done to respond to the critics of the nomination was to point out that they were failing to make a crucial distinction. That it is simply a point of logic that we can support our troops while being diametrically opposed to the ends to which they are used by our government. This is a crucial point for the LGBT movement to understand and promote. We should not allow ourselves to be divided by people who are committed to denying reality. We can agree to disagree on the military and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but there is no disagreement on this, it is a point of fact."

What about the charge that Manning's leaks endangered US troops?

"I say, 'Bullshit.' Of course that's what the government says. Look, Manning did not act alone. He worked with some extremely savvy media people with this -- Wikileaks, the New York Times -- he didn't just publish everything himself. Those organizations worked to edit what was put out there and protect peoples' lives. To dump this all on him and call him a traitor is a mistake."

How much of all this had to do with Manning's queerness?

"Well, all things being equal, that's what qualified him in the first place. But as I said, this fight has resonance with LGBT people in terms of freedom and justice. The fact that he's gay may play into his situation in terms of military and former persecution."

Were you ever given guidelines by the Pride board about who was qualified to be elected a grand marshall?  

"Not that I know of. I don't know the bylaws off-hand, but every year, as the 'electoral college,' we've been able to elect one grand marshall and it's never been a problem. We voted in March, although there may have been a period before the final decision was tallied. [Radical faerie elder and historian Joey Cain put forth the Manning nomination.] And that was the last I heard of it until Friday. I wasn't contacted personally by [executive director] Lisa Williams or anybody else saying we had to change anything. It wasn't until Friday that I found out about any controversy -- in the news media, like everybody else. And I was outraged."  

 

Comments

I encourage anyone who wants to attend the Pride(TM) parade to wear a Bradley Manning mask.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 10:28 am

interests.

Some possible typos in your article, Marke:

Discriminator emigration law in the Philipines keeps Manning's BF from visiting? I think you mean immigration law.

Bylines = Bylaws?

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 11:08 am

fixed above.

Posted by admin on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 11:28 am

I am not particularly interested in the Pride Parade as an event. As is customary, I probably will not go watch it. I've been a few times over the years, and I find it makes for a fairly festive day and it is good to see most of the city come together to celebrate, and also to witness the diversity within the LGBTQ community, but I am not a big parade person.

That said, despite reading all the articles about the grand marshal controversey, I still do not really understand the choice of selecting Bradley Manning as grand marshal. Yes, I read the reasons given by the people who selected him, but they just do not make sense to me. There are many people who have a vocational calling they following to work every day advancing gay rights and civil rights in the U.S. and around the world, and it would have been nice to honor one of those individuals, especially a local individual.

Other than being a cause celebre for a certain group folks, I am not sure Pvt. Manning really did much except leak some diplomatic cables which said a lot of stuff that most people generally knew. Now one may or may not think what he did was important and admirable, but what he did definitely did not have anything to do with him being gay or gay rights generally, nor did he really devote his life to working for any particular movement.

If you want to have a debate about Bradley Manning's actions, fine, but I do not see much connection to Pride, other than he happened to be gay, which is something he has in common with about 30 million other people in the U.S. alone.

Posted by Chris on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 11:12 am

He was tortured because he had gender issues.
Also, if you've never heard this, the U.S. military was anti-gay for about the last 225 years.
So I assume now that you are aware of this, you'll be beating the drum for censuring the committee.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zinnia-jones/manning-trial-being-transgend...

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

“Everything we know from Bradley Manning’s friends, family, and legal defense team, is that he wishes to be referred to as Brad or Bradley until he’s able to get to the next stage of his life. Bradley has indicated that he’s not interested in publicly addressing this issue.” -Bradley Manning Support Network. July 24, 2012

http://www.bradleymanning.org/news/feminist-trans-advocates-should-suppo...

Posted by marcos on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

Do Grand Marshals have to be people who have worked in queer fields or can they be queer people who have distinguished themselves that we are proud of in any endeavor, say journalism or literature or rock music? If the latter, why would not Bradley Manning be eligible for consideration?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

Do Grand Marshals have to be people who have worked in queer fields or can they be queer people who have distinguished themselves that we are proud of in any endeavor, say journalism or literature or rock music? If the latter, why would not Bradley Manning be eligible for consideration?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

Stop what? Stating my opinion? Isn't that what you are in a huff about in the first place? I will not stop, so don't waste your breath.

He happens to be gay, but he is not really someone I think has any connection to the gay community. I certainly don't think he is representative of me or anything that has impacted my life. Also, I can think of many other significant individuals, both gay and straight, who should be honored at the gay pride parade. Again, what I think should be done is to honor a local Bay Area individual who has spent most of his or her life working on gay rights or related issues.

Pvt. Manning's circumstances are a separate issue that certain people want to turn into a cause celebre--great, have a discussion about it or go protest in front of the military prison he is detained in, but I don't think anything to do with him has anything to do with a gay pride event.

Also, I already read the Huffington Post, and I don't need someone sending me links. I find it odd how people don't do any real research or thinking for themselves anymore--they just shoot off links to articles they think somehow (often tangentially, if at all) support whatever muddled point they are attempting to make. I read the article and it has absolutely zero impact on my original opinion--there will be no drum beating from me.

Posted by Chris on May. 01, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

Bradley Manning is a traitor. No less a traitor than Dick Cheney, who released the name of a covert agent to the press. Shame on him and he deserves whatever punishment he is given.

Posted by Richmondman on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

No, because Dick Cheney revealed the identity of a covert agent to a gossip columnist putting the lives of hundreds of the agents contacts in jeopardy maliciously in order to reign in a truth teller who was casting light onto Cheney's malfeasance and dishonesty to the American people; Cheney did it to keep his illegitimate war aims on track

Bradley Manning didn't do anything like that.

Manning didn't do *anything* like that.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

Manning didn't even know everything he was leaking. It could have been important, perhaps not - that wasn't important - he did it anyway. He did it with full knowledge of what he was doing, what the penalty was - he deserves what he gets.

Posted by Richmondman on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:43 am

Dick Cheney leaked the identity of a covert agent thus comprimising the network of associates she had cultivated during her career as an agent.

Dick Cheney did this to punish her for her husband's meddling in Cheney's nefarious plot to initiate an illegal and ill-advised war of aggression.

Dick Cheney performed this act of treason not while a PFC in the Army, but while he held the second highest office in the executive branch of the federal government.

Dick Cheney did all this while otherwise acting concertedly to commit this nation to entrapment in a sticky foreign policy morass; and yet "Whackamole" can only come up with the numb-nutted idea that Bradley Manning's act was equivalent in nature.

Whackamole, you are a real piece of work. Just like the U.S. govenment, you'd like to suggest that what Bradley Manning did hurt this country, but you can't bring yourself to try and prove it.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 10:09 am

Typical.

Bravo Bradley Manning.

I encourage anyone who wants to attend the Pride™ parade to wear a Bradley Manning mask.

"Pride stands for justice, freedom, and an end to discrimination, and I feel Bradley represents all of these things."

Pride™ is supposed to stand for these things. In reality, Pride™ is one big corporate commercial for businesses, organizations with bloated "administrative" salaries, HIV drug companies, and corporate hack Establishment politicians. The corrupt mayor will even be there. That's enough to keep me away.

And as straight as the Castro is becoming, I don't expect Pride™ to be around much longer. I guess they'll keep the rainbow flags up to deceive the tourists and for a tourist attraction.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

Why even have this "electoral college" of former grand marshals if that power trip Lisa piece of work "Executive Director" (what'$ her $alary?) arrogantly thinks she knows better and overrides their decision?

Hopefully no one will go to "SF Pride."

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

Hi folks! in case you missed it, Glenn Greenwald's comments yesterday in London's Guardian Newspaper, regarding this 'Manning- Pride Marshall' controversy, are spot on!

Xi'an [ she-on ]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/27/bradley-manning-sf-g...

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

Gracias for that. As usual, Glenn Greenwald is spot-on!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

"Conduct can be illegal and yet still be noble and commendable: see, for instance, Daniel Ellsberg, or most of the leaders of the civil rights movement in the US. Indeed, acts of civil disobedience and conscience by people who risk their own interests to battle injustices are often the most commendable acts. Equating illegal behavior with ignominious behavior is the defining mentality of an authoritarian - and is particularly notable coming from what was once viewed as a bastion of liberal dissent."

and

"[W]hen I wrote several weeks ago about the remarkable shift in public opinion on gay equality, I noted that this development is less significant than it seems because the cause of gay equality poses no real threat to elite factions or to how political and economic power in the US are distributed. If anything, it bolsters those power structures because it completely and harmlessly assimilates a previously excluded group into existing institutions and thus incentivizes them to accommodate those institutions and adopt their mindset. This event illustrates exactly what I meant."

and

"[A]uthoritarians, by definition, believe in the overarching Goodness of institutions of power, and believe the only bad acts come from those who challenge or subvert that power. Bad acts aren't committed by the National Security State or Surveillance State; they are only committed by those who oppose them. If a person's actions threaten power factions or are deemed prohibited by them, then Good Authoritarians will reflexively view the person as evil and will be eager to publicly disassociate themselves from such individuals. Or, as Williams put it, "even the hint of support" for Manning "will not be tolerated", and those who deviate from this decree will be 'disciplined'."

Thanks for that link.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 7:46 am

And didn't Marke write yesterday how Grand Marshalls are a parade of has-beens and dead-eyed politicians? Yet now we're supposed to give a shit what this has been has to say on this matter?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 4:41 pm
Posted by Michael W. on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 6:36 pm
Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

you claim to support "bradley" manning yet don't give her the slightest bit of respect. a woman stands accused of treason--TREASON--and none of you can even be bothered to get her name and pronouns right.

breanna manning -is- transgender. there is no "possibly now" about it. nobody "becomes" transgender. and for your information, it is NOT the same thing as being gay, despite what you clearly think.

the entire "free bradley manning" trip is a sham. it's nothing more another example of the cissexist big gay boys' club trying to erase transpeople and usurp their contributions--because erasing us from stonewall just isn't enough for them.

Posted by A Transwoman on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 6:22 pm
Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

Aren't you keeping track?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

Atta girl! You have *no* idea how close I came to referencing "Greasy, Perfidious, and Berzerk" in my last posting here.

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Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

“Everything we know from Bradley Manning’s friends, family, and legal defense team, is that he wishes to be referred to as Brad or Bradley until he’s able to get to the next stage of his life. Bradley has indicated that he’s not interested in publicly addressing this issue.” -Bradley Manning Support Network. July 24, 2012

http://www.bradleymanning.org/news/feminist-trans-advocates-should-suppo...

People need to quit projecting their own gender issues onto other people, that is objectification and it is starting to get very annoying.

It is not all about gender all the time for everybody and a few making it so usurps the self determination and autonomy of everyone.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

Now it's Bradley Manning despite the fact he doesn't want to be addressed as a transsexual?

Stop trying to erase trans people Marcos. They were at Stonewall you know!!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

At Stonewall and Compton's trans folks took direct action towards their own liberation and did not make a public campaign of objectifying public figures by projecting their gender identity preference for someone else on others without consent.

Perhaps some what is viewed by trans folks as transphobia is in reality pushback by people who don't wish to be defined by other people on other peoples' terms? Remember, we're in the narcissistic world where political difference is personal attack and where politics is based on what you "like" or "dislike" rather than any objective analysis of the interests and processes in play.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

take issue with ascribing transsexualism to another person then you clearly have anti-trans prejudice.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

to spare us her stupidity. Or at least don't post so much after hitting the sauce.

Down with stupidity!!!

Power to the thoughtful!!!

Posted by San Francisco Anti-Stupidity Campaign on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

Incidentally those who constantly speak of themselves in third person are generally thought to be suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Might be time to off yourself as personality disorders are highly resistant to treatment.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 10:55 pm

Lucretia has never spoken of Lucretia in the third person...

Posted by marcos on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 11:17 pm
Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:04 am

lilli, 2013 called and said you're still an atavistic ass.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 8:09 am
Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 8:27 am

Where's the beef?

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 8:51 am

His type always are.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:26 am

But rarely. SFASC speaks of themselves, GRANDLY, in third person consistently. They NEVER speak of themselves otherwise.

Really, suicide is the best option for the writer.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:02 pm

It says emigration, Is that accurate or should it say immigration?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 8:57 pm

If I were still living in SF I would join the protest in support of Manning. Sadly, groups like the Pride committee, the AIDS foundation, HRC and others are merely interested in promoting the good of the Democratic Party. The LGBT community always comes second and they would push under a bus in a flash if some elected official offered them a job, grant, or just the illusion of feeling important.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

Very true.

"Sadly, groups like the Pride committee, the AIDS foundation, HRC and others are merely interested in promoting the good of the Democratic Party."

I agree. I'd say that most so-called "liberal" and so-called "progressive" websites are merely "fronts" for the Democratic Party. And every election cycle they climb through all type of loops and contortions to continue the status quo with their Democratic Party. An example of what they write at election time: "this Democratic politician is not perfect and we've disagreed with him/her on so many things but this Democrat is better than the Republican candidate (or at least we choose to believe that because of our D partisan devotion) and this Democratic politician has always been polite to us and returned our calls so we are going to endorse them but we're hopeful that this Democrat will act differently (translation: won't act like a neocon hawk) in another term (dream on!)."

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 3:06 am

Really- you want to honor a person accused of treason etc. just because he is gay? Seems pretty dumb actually. Out of all the people in the queer nation that could be honored, you think Manning is deserving of the honor. The one thing he is famous for is breaking the trust of the US government leak classified documents. He just also happens to be gay. Lame.

Posted by Whackamole on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:18 am

And rarely effective.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:29 am

Barack Obama and George W. Bush are the traitors who issued serial unlawful orders. Bradley Manning is a hero for exposing these crimes.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:34 am
Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:53 am

If you wish for to get a great deal from this
paragraph then you have to apply these strategies to your won
blog.

Posted by best stuff on Jul. 20, 2013 @ 10:45 am

In a free society -- in a *DEMOCRACY* -- freedom cannot exist while the government regularly takes action secret from the people it purports to represent.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is what Lord Acton wisely observed. That's the perspective on individual morality and ethics; in regard to democracy, the phrase can be adapted as "secrecy corrupts and absolute secrecy corrupts absolutely."

Absolute secrecy is what "Whackamole" advocates for: absolute corruption of our democratic system. Some patriot.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:40 am

Simply can't have a civil discussion or disagreement without personal attacks.

As usual, you are also taking my statement out of context. Am I advocating for absolute secrecy- certainly not- never said I was. But, the reality is that the govt has to have some secrets in order to operate effectively etc. To deny that is to deny reality.

Posted by Whackamole on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:10 am

No job, no partner, no family, rent--controlled shithole. Mid-fifties and nothing to show for it except posting the same ol' 24/7 here.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:21 am

There has been an explosion in governement secrecy in the last decade and whenever the veil is pulled back on it just a little bit, it reveals acts and agendas inimnical to the interests of the American people but being perpetrated in their name and on their expense account.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:37 am