Chelsea Manning to represent largest U.S. ‘Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration’ in 2014
Friday, April 11th, 2014. By the Chelsea Manning Support Network
Today, the nation’s largest Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee announced on its website that WikiLeaks whistle-blower Chelsea Manning has been chosen to represent the event as a 2014 Honorary Grand Marshal.
Manning thanked the San Francisco Pride Committee from Fort Leavenworth military prison, declaring, “As a trans* woman, I appreciate the Pride movement’s significant role in bringing together diverse communities and elevating the public profile of the fight for queer rights. I have always enjoyed attending Pride celebrations given the opportunity, and I’m deeply honored to receive this title.” Manning explained that she prefers “Trans*” (with an asterisk) to denote not only transgender men and women, but also those who identify outside of a gender binary.
Chelsea Manning has been working with artist Alicia Neal to illustrate how she sees herself, and wishes to look after receiving treatment for gender dysphoria at Fort Leavenworth military prison. The initial sketch for the portrait is being shared publicly for the first time today to coincide with the SF Pride announcement.
The annual SF Pride celebration is the largest of its kind in the country, attracting up to 1.8 million people from around the world.The SF Pride Grand Marshal website states, “San Francisco Pride’s Grand Marshals are the public emissaries of Pride. They represent a mix of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community.”
The 2014 Pride Committee explained that they’re acting to rectify a public controversy from last year, in which Manning had been elected a Grand Marshal but the honor was later revoked by the 2013 board of directors. The new Board President, Gary Virginia, stated:
SF Pride’s oversight of the Electoral College community grand marshal nomination and election process in 2013 was mishandled. Even with this controversy, thousands of Manning supporters in the 2013 Pride Parade represented the largest non-corporate, walking contingent in the parade. I want to publicly apologize to Chelsea Manning and her supporters on behalf of SF Pride, and we look forward to a proper honor this year.
The Chelsea Manning Support Network will be organizing a contingent of supporters in this year’s SF Pride parade, and at other Pride parades around the country. We’re also currently engaged in supporting Manning’s request for Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and a legal name change, in addition to raising money for her legal appeals.
Manning will pursue appeals based on prosecutorial misconduct, errors made by military Judge Col. Lind, and constitutional issues beginning with the US Army Court of Appeals sometime next year. The Support Network anticipates future challenges in federal court, and potentially even the Supreme Court. Manning has also filed an official application for executive clemency, giving President Obama the power to immediately reduce or even dismiss her sentence.
Earlier this year, at Oxford University, Manning was granted the Sam Adams Integrity in Intelligence Award, presented annually by an international group of former CIA officials. The previous year’s recipient, Edward Snowden, congratulated Manning at the ceremony. Manning’s Sam Adams Award acceptance statement can be read online: http://pastebin.com/igpXK26G