Behind the Gay Pride "Manning-gate"

Joey Cain

The whole Bradley Manning-Pride fiasco was such a clusterfuck that we’re starting to wonder whether the people who run the giant parade and festival can count, much less make a decision.

Here, as best as we can tell, is how it went down.

Every year, the Pride board selects a group of people as honorary parade grand marshalls. All the past recipients of that distinction -- the “college” of former marshalls -- get to pick on person for the list.
It’s never a very big issue.

Joey Cain, who served on the Pride board for ten years and is a former grand marshall, made some waves this time around by nominating Bradley Manning. And after the email went out, and the votes were counted (only perhaps 30 or so of the former poobahs bother to vote most years), it appeared that Manning was on top.

But no: According to a written chronology that Cain has prepared, "On Tuesday, April 23,  Michael Thurman from Bradley Manning Support Network called me to say that Bradley Manning had been chosen by the collage of former Pride grand marshals to be a Grand Marshal but that he was then contacted two hours later by Joshua Smith and told that the Pride Board of Directors had asked for an audit of the votes and as a result of the audit he had not been elected."

So Cain started pushing back. “You don’t tell someone they’re a grand marshall and then pull it away,” he told me. “That’s just not right.” His plea to Board Chair Lisa Williams: Just use the power of the board to vote Manning back in.

“At 9:41 on Tuesday night, I got a call back from Lisa. She said they were going to do the right thing, make him a grand marshall, and make it all right,” Cain recalled.

Williams hasn’t responded to our phone calls.

The next day, the Bay Area Reporter released the full list of GMs, and Manning’s name was on the list. “It said he DID win the college vote,” Cain noted.

Cain called the Manning crew. “I told them that Pride would do the right thing, that they wouldn’t back down,” he said. “I’ve been on the board ten years, and we’ve never backed down.”

Ah, but the office was flooded with phone calls and emails, organized by a group of gay soldiers in San Diego, and the pressure got intense. And next thing you know, Williams had issued a blistering press release saying that Manning should never have been named a grand marshall and in effect accusing him of endangering the lives of service members, something even the Pentagon hasn’t actually said.

Manning’s in. Manning’s Out. Manning’s in. Manning’s out. Yes, it’s part of the New Gay World, where the Pentagon is our friend because: gay soliders. But it’s also embarassing.

"I call it Manning-gate," Cain said. "The cover up is always worse than the crime."

And the fact that Williams isn't talking to the press makes it all more confusing.

“The worst part is that I’m part of the anarchist community, and I’ve always been out there arguing in support of Pride,” Cain said. “Then this is like, holy fucking shit, they just proved everything I’ve been trying to disprove all these years.”


Seriously- it makes no sense to nominate this guy. He is famous for treason and just happens to be gay. Hardly someone the gay community should be holding up as an icon. How about honoring the lawyers that argued the Gay Marriage case? seems a much more worthy receipient.

Posted by Whackamole on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:13 am
Posted by Anon on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:22 am

He is not "famous for treason." He is famous for getting info about US war crimes to the world. The treasonous ones are those who sent him there.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 8:40 am

Manning is famous for being a patriotic whistle-blower. Wrongly jailed while Bush, Cheney, etc remain free.

Posted by Rob on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

You liberals kill me! You've got a little traction now and you just can't pull the ladder up fast enough behind you.
So that I've got this straight; We're supposed to throw a patriot under the bus and grant gay marriage equivalency with the courage to expose war crimes and expose countries who break International Law and the Geneva Convention. Pl-ease!

Posted by Thomas Plagemann on May. 03, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

This what we expect of all other orgs. Signed...a proud veteran

Posted by Stephen Zollman on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

Wow. This 'nonsense news' is part of why I left San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

and we don't miss you at all

Posted by Rob on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

Then why are reading this now?

Posted by Guest on May. 03, 2013 @ 10:35 pm

neurotic rambling of those one left behind in one's wake.

Posted by Guest on May. 03, 2013 @ 10:47 pm

There could be an interesting back story here, are there any 'connections' between any of the deciders and any of the decision makers. It's been a few weeks since we've had a nice juicy back room shenanigan story, or have I just been to busy to notice - or to care.

Posted by Patrick Monk.RN. on May. 01, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

some may dismiss this as a tempest in a teapot, but the incredible number of trolls (especially given the context of the SF gay movement, even its most mainstream elements, who are highly unlikely to see Bradley Manning as a 'traitor' in large numbers) suggests otherwise. as with other situations in which hate multiplies (from HIV denialism to bizarre pseudoconspiracy theories that tend to discredit valid expose of the system, etc) like this, the reason is always the powerful interests that see the strategic importance of trashing someone, especially in a given context or situation. here, the question is whether the gay movement, which is at the mass base especially in NYC and SF apt to be sympathetic to ANTI-imperialist politics and to whistleblowers like Manning, is going to buck the powers that be in this country, including Obama, who pronounced on this case suggesting that Bradley Manning was guilty. If major mainstream gay pride marches in SF (and NY) honor Bradley Manning, it is apt to lay the basis for an anti-imperialist gay rights movement overall, rather than one, at this point of strength, merely devoted to accomodation of the same system to be more gay friendly, but still the same old crap otherwise.

So this really is an historic struggle, even though it may seem trivial to some. A small minority of SOME (not all and not necessarily most) gay rights advocates in the military and among vets should not veto what the vast majority feel, by means of dictaat from above, as here

Posted by cloudy on May. 02, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

Very well said. It comes down to the people who were around since day 1 saying
"We don't want a larger slice of this pie, we wanna bake a new one" and the center-right capitulators who see that if they're obedient to the status quo they're gonna get theirs.....the hell with everyone else.

Posted by Thomas Plagemann on May. 03, 2013 @ 9:27 pm