We are fast approaching an annual event which I know most of you have been waiting for with great anticipation… the 2013 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. This yearly gathering is always a media favorite, but this year’s offering promises an entirely new twist. The highly coveted position of Grand Marshal is one which comes with many responsibilities, including being able to hoist a baton, play to the crowd and stay in step with all the floats. This job would be particularly difficult for the next proposed honoree, though, given his current housing situation.
This Wednesday, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee announced that openly gay Army whistleblower PFC Bradley Manning will be honored as a grand marshal for the largest gathering of LGBT (lesbian gay bisexual transgender) people and allies in the United States. SF Pride describes its grand marshals as “individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community.”
A group of past grand marshals selected PFC Manning as this year’s sole honoree, bestowing one of the LGBT community’s highest accolades on the soldier who helped reveal unpunished war crimes, the Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture (as publicized in a recent UK Guardian documentary), and other disturbing and previously secret foreign policies.
Not for nothing here, but it seems to me that there needs to be a bit of discretion when selecting the people you pick to fete. Whether or not Manning is gay has as much to do with this as our ability to put boxing gloves on a rooster. The guy is on trial for selling out his country and will likely go down in history as one of our more notable traitors the way things are going now. Is this really who you want to hold out as a prominent figure?
Well, as it turns out, this was all a false alarm. Somebody at the helm of SF Pride (the sponsors of the event) got wind of the plan and brought the oh so stylish hammer down on it.
26 April 2013: Bradley Manning will not be a grand marshal in this year’s San Francisco Pride celebration. His nomination was a mistake and should never have been allowed to happen. A staff person at SF Pride, acting under his own initiative, prematurely contacted Bradley Manning based on internal conversations within the SF Pride organization. That was an error and that person has been disciplined. He does not now, nor did he at that time, speak for SF Pride.
Bradley Manning is facing the military justice system of this country. We all await the decision of that system. However, until that time, even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform — and countless others, military and civilian alike — will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country.
Well, I’m glad we got that straightened out. (Even if the fact that he was even considered leaves us with questions.) Besides… how was he going to get out of the hoosegow to lead the parade?