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Chelsea Manning named honorary grand marshal for San Francisco Pride 2014

How Chelsea Manning sees herself as a trans woman. This image was created by artist Alicia Neal, in cooperation with Chelsea herself.
Alicia Neal via Chelsea Manning Support Network

Last year, when Chelsea was still Bradley, and Bradley was still on trial, Manning was named honorary grand marshal for San Francisco Pride's parade. That honor was quickly revoked when those who think of Manning as a traitor started foaming at the mouths. That prevented any backlash against the event, but the debate continued.

Parade organizer Gary Virginia said Friday that Chelsea Manning was chosen to make amends for last year's controversy, saying that decision was mishandled. Unfortunately, the debate still isn't over. There are a surprising amount of people who feel that government whistle-blowing should be considered a criminal act.

The ring leader behind last year's backlash, Sean Sala, has wasted no time in releasing a statement:

"As the one who lead the campaign and national boycott last year against San Francisco Pride when they chose to make Chelsea Manning (former Bradley Manning) their Grand Marshall; I learned yesterday that they have once again chose to do so. I could make a statement grand and tailored for the decision but the bottom-line is this: after the national backlash last year, the fact that SF Pride would do this once again is just astounding. They will reap what they sow. You reap lawlessness, don't expect it to help you in the end. They have once again spit in the face of the LGBT Military community, all in the name of senseless ideology. Once again, SHAME on San Francisco Pride."

Of course that is coming from someone who considers Manning a criminal. In a debate between Sala and Dan Choi last year, Sala claimed that Manning's disobedience doesn't compare to Choi's disobedience because Choi helped advance the LGBT movement while Manning's offenses have nothing to do with the cause. Choi's response is golden.

"Thanks Sean, but I really did nothing for our movement, beyond uncovering what was then, a controversial and illegal truth. In fact this is what heroes like Commander Zoe Dunning did when she courageously came out. It is in fact the unveiling of truth which defines us as a people of integrity. Often that unveiling goes against cultural traditions, but some are willing to sacrifice for a greater good. Those individuals, whether Dunning, Manning, Sala or Choi are painted many names, but history has proven that tough truth-telling is the only action that moves us forward. But it is more than LGBT, it is indeed the Code that unites us beyond our own identities. That is why, I believe, SF Pride initially honored PFC Manning."

We are, unfortunately, living in a world where revealing atrocities committed by officially sanctioned government aggressors is considered the deviant behavior. The atrocities themselves are considered a part of war that we would just rather not speak of. Don't stop that behavior, don't criticize it, just pretend there's nothing going on.

Sean Sala may live in the left-wing fringe of society most of the time, but his military brain-washing hasn't worn off, yet. When it does, perhaps he'll understand that when you start to crack from the pressure of keeping secrets, you start to question why the secrets are necessary. Then you start to see that a lot of those secrets are meant to protect our integrity rather than our security.

Then you start to wonder why we can't just act with more integrity instead.

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