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San Francisco Pride Names Pvt. Bradley Manning Of Wikileaks Infamy As Parade Grand Marshal

U.S. Army

Army Pvt. Bradley Manning

Military LGBT activists are "astounded" that San Francisco Pride parade organizers chose Chelsea Manning - a.k.a. Army Pvt. Bradley Manning - as honorary grand marshal.

A military judge in 2013 found Manning guilty of espionage for handing over top secret government documents to Wikileaks, an anti-secrecy group, according to the Washington Post.

On Monday, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the commanding general of the military district of Washington, upheld that conviction - and the 35 year sentence that went along with it.

According to the Chelsea Manning Support Network website, Manning was experiencing gender dysphoria and had "gone through a process of gender questioning and exploration for years." On August 22, 2013, Manning announced...

...that she would like to begin to be known publicly by the name of Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, pursue hormone therapy and be referred to with female pronouns.

San Diego-based LGBT military activist Sean Sala organized a national boycott last year against San Francisco Pride when Manning was chosen as grand marshal then. Sala was quick to criticize SF Pride's announcement this year that Manning would once again be honored:

"I could make a statement grand and tailored for the decision but the bottom line is this: after the national backlash last year, the fact that SF Pride would do this once again is just astounding.

"They will reap what they sow. You reap lawlessness, don't expect it to help you in the end. They have once again spit in the face of the LGBT Military community, all in the name of senseless ideology. Once again, SHAME on San Francisco Pride."

How Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning sees herself as a trans woman.

The Associated Press reports Stephen Peters, president of the American Military Partner Association, was also disappointed in Manning's selection as grand marshal:

[Peters] says Manning's actions don't represent other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in uniform and that another choice would be more appropriate.

Manning, reports The Advocate, issued a statement from Fort Leavenworth prison in response to being named honorary grand marshal.

“As a trans* woman, I appreciate the Pride movement’s significant role in bringing together diverse communities and elevating the public profile of the fight for queer rights.

"I have always enjoyed attending Pride celebrations given the opportunity, and I'm deeply honored to receive this title.”

What do you think of Manning being named as grand marshal of the Pride parade? Have your say in our comments section!

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | April 14, 2014 at 10:36 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

During the Cold War it was dangerous even to be knowledgeable about international affairs. Then-Prof. Harry Steinmetz, Chairman of San Diego State College's Political Science Department, spoke to a student-run campus club on Dec. 7, 1953. He recounted his own experience who had refused to testify about his communist affiliation at a Congressional hearing (with only two options, becoming "either a tattle-tale or a martyr"). Steinmetz was fired Feb. 5, 1954. One student criticized the editors of the Daily Aztec for being "swept along in the tide of public hysteria," while another student wrote: "It is a tragic commentary upon our age that intellectualism is linked, indubitably, with subversion." (Daily Aztec, March 5, 1954). Attendance at that talk 60 years ago exceeded 300 people. Many attendees were at State because of the GI Bill.

A former Cal rugby player named Mark Bingham was a crucial part in the passengers' rebellion aboard Flight 93 on 9/11/2001. Bingham was last to board the plane. He was a San Francisco public relations executive. He 'had very sensitive, creative side', says former employer Holland Cartney. A posting on the website run by Andrew Sullivan, former editor of the New Republic magazine, reads: 'The media portrayal of gays -- lots of it by gays themselves -- see gays as effeminate, most of whom seemed little interested in military service or aggressive pursuits in general. Mark Bingham's a hero, plain and simple. I simply can't say to myself any longer that gays have no place in the military.' 'He didn't politicize his sexuality at all,' said Bingham's friend and roommate Per Casey. 'It's ironic that in death he is being celebrated for something he did not think was worth politicizing. And that's lucky for all of us, and unlucky for people who are biased against us. What he did is both inconceivable and great.'

A very recent talk about Manning at San Diego State University was attended by about 100 peoplel. Sometimes knowing what your government is doing is a laudable and necessary thing: my 88 years-old friend Jim Obata (who was Chairman of the Mesa College Math Department for 35 years) spent his three years of high school were spent in a Posten, AZ in a WWII concentration camp because he was an American of Japanese Ancestry.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | April 14, 2014 at 10:38 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

In his introduction to the English translation of This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman, Jan Kott (in whose 1968 Berkeley staging of Euripides' play "Orestes" I played the Choragus) writes of Tadeusz Borowski’s decision to render his Auschwitz experience in the first person: “The identification of the author with the narrator was the moral decision of a prisoner who had lived through Auschwitz -- an acceptance of mutual responsibility, mutual participation, and mutual guilt for the concentration camp.” Seen through the eyes of a gentile / Polish prisoner, the story describes a typical day at Auschwitz. The narrator joins in the task of unloading thousands of Jews from the cattle cars and sending them to their death in the gas chamber, all to acquire food and maybe a pair of shoes. As readers grow to understand that the narrator is forced to this extreme in order to continue to perform the work that guarantees his own existence, they become part of the community of the concentration camp. And they become implicated themselves. Borowski was 17 when Poland fell under German occupation at the start of World War II. As the Allied liberation forces drew close to Auschwitz, then-inmate Borowski and others were moved to Dachau. Unloading a train, he sees an attractive young woman. She asks the narrator where they are being taken, and when he doesn’t answer, she tells him that she knows. She walks off to the truck, though she is young and strong, and her life would have been spared.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | April 14, 2014 at 10:40 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Ever heard of Lt. Edward G. Seidensticker? "I was told not to stand there like the fool I unquestionably was," Ed wrote of his Iwo Jima experience as a Marine in his memoir [Tokyo Central, University of Washington, 2002] "but to get to work on a foxhole. Only a few feet away was a conspicuous and macabre object: a bare Japanese arm, raised from a heap of litter as if in some last gesture of exhortation and defiance. The rest of the corpse was under the heap." Seidensticker's translation work at the battle of Iwo Jima was rudimentary, e.g., "Bazooka wa doko desuka? Where is your weapon now?" but he went on to be decorated -- by the Mikado himself -- with the Order of the Rising Sun. In fact, when the 1968 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Yasunari Kawabata "for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind," it was Seidensticker who Kawabata chose to read his speech for him to the Swedish Academy.

And it was my late, great, gay friend Ed Seidensticker -- and not John Wayne nor Errol Flynn -- who crossed the sandy sloped beaches of Iwo Jima and climbed Mt. Surabachi.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | April 14, 2014 at 10:46 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Edward Snowden emailed: "Today, an ordinary person can't pick up the phone, email a friend or order a book without comprehensive records of their activities being created, archived, and analyzed by people with the authority to put you in jail or worse. I know: I sat at that desk. I typed in the names. When we know we're being watched, we impose restraints on our behavior – even clearly innocent activities – just as surely as if we were ordered to do so. The mass surveillance systems of today, systems that automate the indiscriminate seizure of private records, constitute a sort of surveillance time-machine – a machine that simply cannot operate without violating our liberty on the broadest scale. And it permits governments to go back and scrutinize every decision you've ever made, every friend you've ever spoken to, and derive suspicion from an innocent life. Even a well-intentioned mistake can turn a life upside down."

Ever heard of Miriam Ben-Shalom? Women accounted for just 15% of all active-duty and reserve members of the military in 2008 but more than a third of the 619 people discharged in that one year alone were discharged because of their sexual orientation. The disparity was particularly striking in the Air Force, where women represented 20 percent of personnel but 61 percent of those expelled. Instituted in 1993, Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT, Pub.L. 103-160{(10 U.S.C. § 654} generally prohibited anyone who had sexual, bodily or romantic contact with a person of the same sex from serving in the armed forces of the United States, and prohibited any homosexual or bisexual from disclosing his or her sexual orientation. DADT also specified that if a gay or bisexual service member hid their sexual orientation, commanders were not allowed to investigate their sexuality. Involuntarily-separated veterans from the military under DADT had a discharge that was characterized as "dishonorable" or "other than honorable" -- and as such are ineligible to receive most states or federal veterans' benefits. Ever heard of T/Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, Ens. James Woodward, Lt. "Jay" Hatheway, or Perry Watkins?

California AB 1505, which Governor Jerry Brown last year signed into law, mandates, if the federal government reinstates benefits to discharged veterans -- those who were denied benefits solely on the basis of sexual orientation -- will thenceforth receive state-offered veterans' benefits.

Ever read Conduct Unbecoming by Randy Shilts, St. Martin's Press, 1993?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 14, 2014 at 12:28 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Nothing like MORE EVIDENCE that LGTBT is one monolithic bloc, as BOTH their detractors and their members would love to believe.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 14, 2014 at 12:28 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Correction. I menat to say, NOT one monolithic bloc.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | April 14, 2014 at 2:34 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Those folks sure do like to strut their stuff. They have more parades than the North Korean Army.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 15, 2014 at 12:24 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

I salute SF Pride and their decision.

Manning's trial was a sham, and people need to realize that if it weren't for whistle blowers, we would have no idea the atrocities our own government is perpetrating.

As far as I'm concerned, this person Sean Sala sounds pretty full of himself.

Mr. Salad, obviously the "national backlash" of which you so dramatically speak is confined to your own fringe military group that thinks it's ok for the government to spy on every citizen without warrant, public debate, or even disclosure.

If the "national backlash" were as bad as you say, they wouldn't have chosen her for a second year.

This makes me want to build a Chelsea Manning float for this years SAN DIEGO Pride.

Is there already a group doing this?? If so, let me know - I would like to help.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | April 15, 2014 at 8:59 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

For the sake of diversity, I will enter a float of Putin. You are for diversity, are you not?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 15, 2014 at 9:16 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Salad. LOL Good one!

They have a right to chose whomever they want! Let them fight over it themselves!

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 15, 2014 at 9:45 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

muckapoo how dare you! Only gays and leftists are allowed to express themselves, and we must not express anything but complete acceptance and praise for their bravery lest we be called hateful bigots. How tolerant of them, right?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 15, 2014 at 11:03 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

@uckkkapoop, REPUBLICAN Steve Seagall supports Putin!

Steven Seagal Loves Putin and Might Become a Russian ...‎

Mar 28, 2014 - Spoiler alert: he's siding with his friend Vladimir Putin and not with President Obama, whom the action star believes is one Benghazi revelation

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Avatar for user 'lorianderson23'

lorianderson23 | April 15, 2014 at 4:14 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Congratulations to SF Pride! Chelsea Manning is our Queer heroine. It is fantastic that this award will be given to her this year. When one joins the military you take an oath to tell the truth. Chelsea stood up for freedom of information, for our right as the public to know what is being done in other countries in our name. She witnessed horrific war crimes and torture in the course of her daily work in the military and as a matter of conscious she told the truth about this. I am a nurse and everyone should view the collateral damage video which she revealed. It was horrifying to watch adults and children shot down in cold blood in the course of trying to help injured people. In the military you take an oath to defend the constitution, to defend the First Amendment rights of people in this country and beyond. Chelsea put her truth telling above her career, and this should be honored. She was arrested, tortured in prison for this truth telling, than there was an absurd court martial which even her own torture was not even discussed. This period of time she endured should have been the basis for a mistrial. As a 62year old lesbian sister of Chelsea I will be honored to be in her contingent. She also has told the truth about herself and she deserves to have her civil and human rights addressed now. Free Chelsea Manning--we are all Chelsea.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 15, 2014 at 6:31 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Well said, Lorianderson. I agree completely.

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Avatar for user 'Jimmy'

Jimmy | April 16, 2014 at 12:06 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

I am glad that SF Pride has chosen Chelsea Manning for its 2014 Grand Marshall.
When one has a fairly good grasp of what the US is about, one can appreciate what Manning has done. My question is how can we expect the US or US government to act morally when it has as its foundation the extermination and mistreatment of Native Americans? After this scores of other injustices have been perpetuated by this country. And I want to make it clear that while I am saying all of this, I am not even a communist...
Manning saw the injustices being committed by our government -which follows the pattern of this country's previous crimes. And she did the right thing to expose the truth. Therefore she deserves to be named a Grand Marshall of the SF Pride celebration.

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Avatar for user 'AnnieSprinkle'

AnnieSprinkle | April 16, 2014 at 10:34 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

I can think of no better Grand Marshall than Chelsea Manning. The point of PRIDE is to encourage GLBTQII to come out. Chelsea has come out in the most difficult of circumstances. And deserves our love and support. Chelsea's courage coming out in the public eye as she has done, will encourage more young people to be out. And being out is the first step towards acceptance of being GLBTQII and E (ecosexual, which I am). If Chelsea is indeed Grand Marsahall I will walk in that parade with great pride. Haven't been in quite a few years. This would get me out for sure.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 16, 2014 at 10:51 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

The funny thing about America is, if Ms. Manning had been who she is and done what she did in ANOTHER country, the U.S. government would be totally on her side. They would be critical towards those imprisoning her citing her as a political prisoner being harassed by a corrupt banana republic.

But since it was the UNITED STATE'S own dirty little secrets she was exposing, we see this hideous double-standard and this backlash against her by her own corrupt government.

Every American should be concerned about her case - it transcends GLBT rights (of course, her own coming out process IS of major significance), but even on a higher level we have that she represents ALL Americans who are in favor of a JUST and TRANSPARENT government.

As I and many others have already states, she is a perfect heroine to represent SF Pride and I salute the SF Pride Committee for going above what is usual insular issues and showing that Gay Pride is not only about the LGBT community, but it is about the world at large, fighting for the rights of ALL who are discriminated against, cast aside as second-class citizens, and violated by their respective governments around the world!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 16, 2014 at 11:31 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Ecosexual??? What the blank! That's a new one on me! Haven't heard it, not even here on KPBS!!!

Yes, it's a Brave New World!

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Avatar for user 'lifewish'

lifewish | April 16, 2014 at 8:38 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Ecosexual? Try it, you might like it. THANKS to the SF Pride Board for choosing Chelsea as the Honorary Grand Marshal for 2014 and for apologizing for the Board's atrocious behavior last year. And THANKS to Chelsea for telling the world the truth about what our government does in secret.

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Avatar for user 'jerlas'

jerlas | April 17, 2014 at 10:03 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Chelsea Manning AND Edward Snowden are both total heroes and half of us know & acknowledge that, the other half insists this is not correct. A little like so many other issues in this country, we just don't agree and its unlikely we ever will. There are demonstrable differences within the two sides - the side believing they are heroes is often educated, thoughtful and analytic. The other side is most often undereducated, thoughtless and afraid out of their minds with the propaganda put out by the corporate government in place (aided by religions just like always - reference ancient Rome). Truth always wins, even if it takes thousands of years. Eventually, assuming we survive ourselves, truth will overtake this mindless lying to the public and we won't have opposition to honest efforts.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 17, 2014 at 12:46 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Since he can arbitrarily choose his genetic traits, can I do that?

I am not a lion. I am a lion, not a human. I feel that I am a lion, so I am a lion. Thank you.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 17, 2014 at 7:20 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

LIFEFISH, thanks but no thanks. (Only in Amerika.) Keep it to yourself.

Oh, wait! But it's not about sex! It's about diversity!


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Avatar for user 'mgconlan'

mgconlan | April 19, 2014 at 9:21 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Thank goodness! It's about time! Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Jon Kiriakou, Lynne Stewart and the other whistleblowers who have exposed the abuses of the U.S. government in the so-called "war on terror" -- and suffered imprisonment or exile for doing so -- are the greatest heroes of our time. I support the right of Queer people to serve openly in the U.S. military but I am appalled at Queers like Sean Sala who have so totally adopted the foul values of U.S. imperialism that they would attack Manning in such scurrilous terms. As a Gay man I am proud of the action of San Francisco Pride and wish San Diego Pride would follow suit.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 21, 2014 at 8:48 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

MCCONLAN, it is NOT about orientation. That is a very stupid statement. Had US forces/intelligence NOT make or do anything illegal, unethical, questionable or immoral, would we EVER have heard of Manning??? Absolutely not. Don't ever forget, Manning JOINED THE MILITARY out of his own FREE WILL, a military involved in a (thank you, Dub Ye) TWO-FRONT war. Don't get me wrong though, I DO appreciate Manning put his career on the line, but it is NOT because of his "orientation." And remmeber also, Snowden is a civilian, not military and whether is homosexual or heterosexual, I don't know and I don't care and it doesn't matter as far as his actions putting his career on the line and maybe even his life!

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Avatar for user 'benmartin'

benmartin | April 22, 2014 at 8:10 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

San Francisco Pride did the right thing to honor Chelsea Manning's courageous action. When they voted him as Grand Marshal they also voted to forbid military recruiters presence at Pride. This also needs to be applauded. The LBGTQ movement is not the only one to honor Manning. Thousands of people have repeatedly supported her for the Peace Nobel Prize. Manning has been awarded the Sam Adams Award for integrity in Intelligence and the Sean MacBride Peace Award. From different sectors of society the message is spreading: we don't want war crimes anymore and we support those who blow the whistle on those crimes!

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Avatar for user 'Giorgio'

Giorgio | April 23, 2014 at 1:34 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

We in the international anti-war movement are delighted about the Pride's decision to honor Chelsea Manning. The LGBTQ movement in San Francisco did a wonderful job for all of us. We are also delighted that they banned the military recruiters from the Parade this year. We don't want any one promoting war crimes in our communities. Well done San Francisco!

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 24, 2014 at 11:56 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Why is everyone all excited about bradley? He is a gay traitor with mental problems. Not a hero, not an example of a good human or a good american.

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Avatar for user 'RobinRyan'

RobinRyan | April 24, 2014 at 12:55 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Thank you, SF Pride, for finally honoring Chelsea Manning as a human rights heroine in this way. And thank you, Chelsea Manning, for revealing shameful American war crimes, and for enduring such persecution, prosecution and prison abuses on behalf of the American people, who have the right to know when their own government and military engage in illegal and immoral acts.

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Avatar for user 'Sportiboye'

Sportiboye | April 26, 2014 at 7:56 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Resistance to war crimes committed in our name is not "senseless ideology" as the notorious reactionary Sean Sala would spin it. I have the highest respect and admiration for the bravery and patriotism displayed first by PFC Manning and followed by Edward Snowden. I deeply resent that Right Wing gays like Sean Sala and Zoe Dunning, a very shrill minority in the LGBTQ community.......get a red-carpeted platform from the Corporate Media to frame the definition of 'patriot' to include war-mongers only. Congratulations Chelsea! Most San Franciscans are proud of, and stand with you.
Thomas Plagemann San Francisco CA

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Avatar for user 'sdreefer21'

sdreefer21 | April 28, 2014 at 9:20 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Celebrating people being traitors is so vogue right now.

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