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San Diego LGBTQ Groups Call on SF Pride to Reinstate Pfc. Manning!

On April 26, 2013 San Francisco Pride President Lisa L. Williams, revoked the nomination of accused whistleblower Pfc. Manning as this year’s Grand Marshal, a position that is given to individuals who significantly contribute to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community.  Manning, often referred to as a modern-day Daniel Ellsberg, was elected by a group of previous Grand Marshals referred to as the “electoral college”, as is a tradition at San Francisco Pride. Manning was nominated for heroism.

In her letter explaining this embarrassing turn-around, Williams accuses Manning of actions “which placed in harm’s way the lives of our men and women in uniform” and asserts that to all organization members that “even the hint of support” for Manning’s action - “will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride”.  This sentiment asserts a false, long since debunked narrative and is not representative of the broader LGBT community.

In response, local groups, including LGBTQ organizations SAME Alliance (SAME) and Canvass for a Cause (CFAC), as well as the San Diego Coalition to Free Manning have issued the following statement:

We know Manning to be a true and selfless hero, akin to Daniel Ellsberg, who in the spirit of Stonewall, risked everything to better the lives of countless people worldwide. By exposing crimes and wrongdoing, Manning’s whistleblowing helped to end the Iraq War and bring about the Arab Spring. 

As LGBTQ activists, we understand that the history of LGBTQ struggle has depended on courageous individuals disobeying unjust laws in order to stand for what is right. This is exactly what Manning has done.  We are proud that Pfc. Manning is a member of our LGBTQ community and we ask that you reinstate Manning as Grand Marshal. The LGBT communities in San Diego, the United States, and around the world have long since looked to San Francisco as a space for free thought and a beacon of social justice. We call on SF Pride to reinstate Manning as a Grand Marshal and for Prides around the nation to follow suit.

We suspect that corporatization of PRIDE activities and political cronyism have contributed to this embarrassing decision from the head of SF PRIDE. We recommend Glenn Greenwald’s piece in the Guardian: ‘Bradley Manning is Off Limits at SF Gay Pride Parade, but Corporate Sleaze is Embraced’ (found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/27/bradley-manning-sf-gay-pride) as a critical examination of the current state of SF Pride. 

Click here to sign online petition: https://www.change.org/petitions/san-francisco-pride-board-of-directors-reinstate-whistleblower-and-lgbt-hero-manning-as-grand-marshal-of-sf-pride#share

—via Canvass for a Cause, SAME Alliance, and San Diego Coalition to Free Manning (Apr. 30, 2013)

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