Should Bradley Manning Be Celebrated?



IN LATE APRIL, the San Francisco Pride Board of Directors, planners of the city’s annual GLBT Pride parade held in June, announced the names of the grand marshals for San Francisco’s 2013 Pride parade. Among them was Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, a gay soldier who has confessed to releasing some 700,000 classified government documents to WiKiLeaks in 2010 and is awaiting court-martial in prison. Manning was to serve in absentia as one of several marshals.

Two days after the announcement—and following some outraged reaction from GLBT retired and active military personnel and their advocacy organizations, who demanded that the decision be rescinded—SF Pride’s president Lisa Williams issued a statement that called Manning’s nomination “a mistake and should never had been allowed to happen.” Incredibly, Williams blamed a rogue employee for Manning’s nomination, selection, and announcement as a grand marshal. She went on to say in her statement: “even the hint of support for actions which placed in harm’s 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.”

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Discussion1 Comment

  1. Manning’s claims of gender identity confusion technically speaking defers him away from anyhing strictly gay. Manning’s defence isn’t defending his actions but rather pleading mitigating circumstances based on his mental health which may yet prove to have some merit particually around the area of his gender identity so the call here to draw rank may be premature.

    However with regards Manning’s treatment during detention there was cause for concern about his treatment which could have heroised him.

    Also to add that from a radical anti establishment perspective whose wing favours complete freedom of information and the freedom of the internet your argument appears right wing. From their perspective Manning could be some kind of a gay heroic martyr because not only did he act in accordance with their ideological notions against the power of the state, but he further confounded international public discourse by drawing attention to his sexual orientation and gender dysphoria. All three issues are highly topical and potent subjects and embodied in a single person so publically cause an unsettling discomfort which advocates on the left will in deed see as worth celebrating.

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