Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bradley Manning Pride Parade Screw-Up Leads to Local Protest Today

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 12:04 PM

click to enlarge manningmask.png

A day after SF Weekly reported on the strangeness of SF Pride's choices for grand marshal for this year's pride parade, the committee did something even more strange.

On Friday, board president Lisa L. Williams released a statement withdrawing the committee's nomination of Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, calling it a "mistake" and saying that a rogue staff person had contacted Manning prematurely after a few internal conversations.

"That was an error and the person has been disciplined."

Williams could not be reached for comment Monday morning, but her announcement stoked flames in the blogosphere. Within a few hours, several political publications -- including leading LGBT voice, The Advocate -- had joined the conversation. Incensed Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald chastised SFPride organizers for "sycophantic cowardice," and tweeted their list of corporate sponsors. In a subsequent column he called the Manning retraction a "seemingly trivial controversy" that spoke volumes about the organization's politics.

Local peaceniks Michael Petrelis, Tommi Avicolli Mecca, and Lisa Geduldig quickly took up the cause and launched a protest of their own. They've invited supporters to a rally outside the SF Pride office at 5 p.m. today, and urged everyone to wear masks with the accused whistleblower's face. Geduldig says they've gained a lot of traction on Twitter and Facebook, and even inspired a statement from honorably discharged U.S. Navy Corpsman John Caldera, who called for Williams' resignation."

Petrelis is clearly giddy about the pride faux pas. He says the media storm has given him ammunition to throw at a board that's long butted heads with the more radical members of the LGBT community.

"I love Lisa Williams --she handed us a golden opportunity on a silver platter," he says. He adds that in recent years, event producers have delegated more time to "chasing corporate dollars" than advocating for controversial LGBT-related causes -- "like a queer whistleblower being court-martialed."

"Pride has sold out to big banks and corporations," Petrelis told us. "It's all just, 'come to Civic Center, open a bank account with Wells Fargo, get drunk on Absolut.' I'm not saying we cant have those things, but there's no balance."

But having an apolitical sentiment is itself a political statement, and some activists say that Manning-gate is actually the culmination of years of frustration. So far, more than 100 people have vowed to attend today's protest.


View Larger Map


  • Pin It

About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Bio:
Rachel Swan has been a staff writer at SF Weekly since 2013. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • Cirque du Soleil Returns to San Francisco
    Cirque du Soleil returns to AT&T park with their current production Kurious: Cabinet of Curiosities. Photographs by Richard Haick.
  • Slayer @ Fox Theater
    Slayer, Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies performed at the Fox Theater in Oakland on November 12, 2014. Photographs by Richard Haick.