Pride faces backlash from defenders of gay whistleblower

Famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg said he plans to march in the SF Pride Parade to honor Bradley Manning.

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!”

Famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who helped foment opposition to the Vietnam War by leaking classified government documents known as the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971, expressed support and admiration for the young US Army soldier. Manning was arrested in May of 2010 on suspicion of having leaked classified government cables and military footage later published by WikiLeaks, and faces a possible life sentence.

"A big mistake was made by the Board of Directors of SF Pride," Ellsberg said. Referencing director Lisa Williams' statement that not even a "hint" of support for Manning would be tolerated, Ellsberg said, "I don't hint at support for Bradley Manning. I couldn't be louder. I will be marching in that parade, for the first time for me, with a banner honoring Bradley Manning."

Gay Navy veteran John Caldera, commander of the Bob Basker Post 315 of the American Legion, an LGBT-focused veteran’s organization, announced that his members had voted unanimously to call for Williams' resignation, saying she had "negated and belittled all of the voices of the community" who had expressed support for Manning. He also condemned Pride for withholding its support for Manning while accepting funding from the likes of Wells Fargo, a banking giant responsible for foreclosures that have affected veterans. "The SF Pride committee has to put people first and corporations second," he said.

Joey Cain, a former grand marshal who said he nominated Manning, noted that he was not calling for Williams to resign, but hoped she would realize the mistake and reinstate him as grand marshal. "What he did was heroic ... Bradley made the world a better place," Cain said. He shamed Pride for straying so far from the roots of the gay movement. “We believed in radical inclusivity,” practicing tolerance for all “colors, genders and opinions,” he said, with the understanding that “We don’t all agree. We never will. But we’re sure never going to throw any part of the community under the bus.”

The rally was organized by longtime housing activist Tommi Mecca (pictured, center), comedian Lisa Geduldig and blogger Michael Petrelis.

Some counter-protesters from the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP organization, even made an appearance. “We were praising the Pride Committee for not having selected Manning,” SF Log Cabin Republicans Fred Schein told the Bay Guardian.

Paul Bloom, a longtime activist, handed the Guardian a written statement on his take of the whole dustup, which he viewed as "an opportunity for people to unite in our understanding that there is no antiwar movement without gay people, and no movement for human rights that doesn’t envision an end to war.”

"Why does the SF Gay Pride Parade need corporate sponsorship, anyway?” Bloom wrote. “The parade must be brought back into the struggle as a part of it instead of remaining the grossly commercial spectacle it has become. We need to occupy the parade."



Anything important going on?

Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 9:59 am

Leave bordellos out of this, madams and staff are more organized that this.

Posted by Tamara Ching on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 3:29 pm


Posted by admin on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

Twenty old people doesn't even constitute a large crowd at the AARP sunset cruise. Also, it's "Breanna" Manning.

Posted by Chromefields on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:40 am

Chromfields: Ha! So clever! But yeah, actually there were a whole helluva a lot more people there than 20. It was a great turnout for a last minute event. Apparently a lot of people care about this issue. And there were plenty of young folks there. Maybe you're not aware that there are many passionate young people active in the fight to free Bradley Manning.

But that doesn't change the fact that your agism is disgusting. And is that "Breanna" remark meant to be homophobic, as well? Gross. Just gross.

Posted by Andy Blue on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 4:17 pm

Actually, I read about the Breanna Manning alter ego in a prior SFBG story. Try to keep up, and enjoy your little tempest in a teapot. And dammit, Free Pussy Riot!

Posted by Chromefields on May. 01, 2013 @ 5:59 am

embarrassing. provincial.
The supposed gayest city in the country cant even do pride right.

Posted by NOT_Eric_Brooks on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

It should really rename itself to "SF Corporate Pride Lovefest 2013" at this point. When supporters of people like Manning, who should serve as role models for the LGBTQ, are told that they'll be blacklisted from the event - that a supporter on the Pride Committee will be "disciplined", etc, then Pride has made a mockery of itself.

We need a politics of sexual liberation, not a politics of kowtowing to corporate political parties.

Posted by HeartTenderloin on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

Don't go.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

"Don't like it? Don't go."

What an utterly stupid remark. People should never try to change things they believe are unjust, unfair, harmful, or wrong, they should just avoid them? You do see how absurd that is, yes? You do understand how awful the world would be if everyone acted that way, yes?

Thankfully not everyone sees the world as you do. And thankfully not everyone spends every hour of their life trolling on websites they hate. Thankfully there are people who care about injustice and want to change things.

And this conversation is over. I'm not going to have a pointless discussion with you. I have things to do. I'm actually trying to improve my world and community. Maybe you should try it sometime you'd be less miserable. Ciao.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 4:04 pm
Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

Don't go? It is OUR pride parade.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

You want something so they should give it to you? Or something else?

If you don't like the choices for the parade marshal then vote with your feet and don't go. Only a dumbshit masochist would deliberately attend an event they don't enjoy or one with which they have an enormous disagreement.

Pride has long been something attended mainly by looky-loos and suburbanites in town to enjoy their gayness in a way they can't in Fremont anyway. You can have it.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

"Only a dumbshit masochist would deliberately attend an event they [sic] don't enjoy or one with which they [sic] have an enormous disagreement."

Kinda like only a dumbshit masochist would deliberately troll a blog he doesn't enjoy or one with which he has an enormous disagreement?!!

You have just proven yourself the single most un-self-aware human being alive.

I'm peeing my pants I'm laughing so hard at you. Made my frickin' day!

Posted by BNE1 on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 8:12 pm
Posted by Michael W. on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 8:28 pm

It's most important to me to spread laughter and joy amongst the citizenry.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

Great to have your exemplary reporting back at the Guardian.

Posted by Andy Blue on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

I think Rebecca's done a great job because her words and images captured a lot of the diverse folks who showed, our views on Manning and Pride and related issues. Thanks, Rebecca.

Posted by MPetrelis on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

Identity politics are inherently conservative. Pride has been a tool of big business for decades. Now it is also a tool of the military and the right wing. Screw 'em.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 8:33 am

FYI, I received this response from Christopher Bowman of the SF Log Cabin Republicans this morning. Posting here:

"Interesting coverage and great photos, and I'm glad you mentioned Log Cabin.
"You did. however, get your facts muddled,when describing John Caldera and the Bob Basker Post 315 of the American Legion.   While John is Gay, and so was Bob Basker (who was an extreme left-wing ideologue going back to the 1930's who actually worked as a "Venceremos" in the sugar cane fields of Castro's Cuba shortly after the trade embargo on Cuba was imposed by the US, to show his solidarity with his Marxist brethren there), the core of Post 315 consists of "Veterans for Peace" who are mostly Straight, not LGBT, and are, by and large, rabidly anti-Military.
"The only predominantly LGBT post in the American Legion throughout the United States is the Alexander Hamilton Post 448 which is headquartered in San Francisco in the Veterans Building and founded by Paul Hardman in the mid-1980's, also in San Francisco.   In the early 1980's, Paul served on the Board of Concerned Republicans for Individual Rights, the predecessor of LCRSF.   Basker was a founding member of Post 448, I believe,  and Caldera was the Commander of the post for one year several years ago, before being defeated for re-election, resigning his membership, and transferring to Post 315.
"This is to not denigrate John's activism or dedication to LGBT or Veterans concerns in general, only that he does so through a progressive world view, a vision  not shared by many of his fellow LGBT veterans."
Posted by rebecca on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

Is Bowman not Arthur Evans yet?

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:46 pm


Posted by Patrick Monk.RN. on May. 01, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

Fuck Brad Manning.

Posted by A Pissed Off Gay Veteran on May. 02, 2013 @ 10:06 am