By Susie Day
Gay greetings, LGBT-town! I’m your out-and-proud lesbian pundit. You may recognize me from my latest blog entry, “How Gay Was My Condo.” Today, I bring you a hard-hitting work of in-depth political analysis re: Private First Class Bradley Manning. It seems some malcontents on the Board of San Francisco’s Gay Pride Parade have suggested Private Manning for Grand Marshal.
Private Manning is a 25-year-old, low-ranking intelligence officer facing a 22-count federal indictment – including one count of aiding the enemy – alleging he leaked the largest number of classified U.S. military records in history. Indeed, Manning admitted in court last February to feeding confidential data to the whistleblower website Wikileaks, thus stunning the world with over 700,000 items revealing heretofore unguessed-at diplomatic corruption, military malfeasance, and war crimes. These revelations, according to Bill Keller of The New York Times, played a role in launching the 2011 Arab Spring. Although prosecutors say they will not seek the death penalty, Manning, if convicted, faces a possible 150 years in prison.
If Private Manning were some straight dude, we of LGBT-town would just keep shopping. But Bradley Manning is gay. Therein lies our shame.
Thankfully, SF Pride Board President Lisa Williams has already yanked Manning off the roster, “repudiating” his selection as a “mistake” by an unnamed staff member. For making that announcement “prematurely,” wrote Ms. Williams, this person was – in what will prove an historic salute to the S/M community – “disciplined.” (Interestingly, Ms. Williams did not mention the use of a “safe word.”)
Lisa Williams, who organized campaign offices for Barack Obama and works for other Democratic politicians, wrote, “[E]ven the hint of support for actions which placed in harm[’]s way the lives of men and women in uniform … will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride.”
Right on, Ms. Williams! I share your Obama-driven anger! For is it not President Obama who finally abolished the military’s infamous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy? Is it not Mr. Obama who is the first president to support, while in office, our right to legal marriage?
Bradley Manning has done something horrible to LGBT-town – far worse than revealing war crimes. He raises the question: Do LGBT people, in some way, owe our improving legal status to those very war crimes Manning revealed?
We of LGBT-town are oppressed enough without having to ponder that, thank you!
Besides, the fact that we have ignored the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and rarely if ever bother to protest, as LGBT people, foreign policy abuses, suggests that Bradley Manning wouldn’t even want to be our Grand Marshal.
The best example of Private Manning’s leaks is the video http://vimeo.com/63389575 that PC thugs entitled “Collateral Murder.” If you’re bored enough to click on the link, you’ll see a U.S. Apache attack helicopter in 2007, hovering over a public square in eastern Baghdad. Soldiers piloting the copter dryly – yet with a certain patriotic panache – target and shoot down two Reuters employees and about 12 Iraqi civilians. A minivan carrying several children then arrives, attempting to rescue the wounded, and is fired upon. All those on the ground, including the children, are killed. We hear a soldier say, “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids to a battle.”
It’s known that Private Manning, as a gay man, faced abuse in the military. In fact, homophobia has been advanced as a motive for his leaking information in the first place. But think, LGBT-town! Those shooters had been instructed by enlightened U.S. military personnel not to be homophobic. In fact, all during that helicopter massacre, you do not hear one antigay slur!
At his February court appearance, Private Manning explained that he had wanted to “spark a debate” on U.S. policies concerning Iraq and Afghanistan, saying, “The most alarming aspect of the video to me … was the seemingly delightful bloodlust of the aerial weapons team. They dehumanized the individuals … by referring to them as ‘dead bastards,’ and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers.”
Is this the type of person we want as our Grand Marshal? I’m all for outing people, but classified data is just TMI. Yet Bradley Manning brutally ripped the door off the U.S. Army’s closet, thus placing in harm’s way the troops who daily and heroically place innocent civilians in harm’s way. He has betrayed our deep psychological need not to know anything about what our government does in our name.
In June, Manning will begin his trial – much of which will be, thank God, secret – a trial that will revive the homophobic stereotype LGBT-town has worked for years to erase: the commie fag. To counter that stereotype, it’s important for us to surround ourselves – as does SF Pride – with peppy, stalwart capitalist sponsors like Verizon, AT&T, and Wells Fargo (the latter, a proud investor in the private prison industry; take that, commie fag).
In conclusion: DUH?! It is impossible for Bradley Manning to be the Grand Marshal of any Gay Pride event: He’s in prison, you idiots. He can’t really be there.
Furthermore the UN special rapporteur on torture alleges that Manning’s been subjected to “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment,” so he probably doesn’t feel a whole lot of “Pride” these days.
Let that be a lesson to every LGBT-town queer who seeks acceptance in President Obama’s US of A. When it comes to government-sponsored mass killings and human rights abuses, maybe “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” isn’t such a bad idea, after all.
Bradley Manning, charges, court martial:
Manning, Guilty Pleas:
Bill Keller, NY Times, Manning:
SF Pride, Lisa Williams statement:
Lisa Williams bio:
(Note: Williams’s Obama campaign work has been removed from SF Pride bio)