SF Pride Committee has made it official. They are through debating. Bradley Manning, the Queer, imprisoned US Soldier behind the Wikileaks whistle blowing case will not be one of the myriad of Honorable Grand Marshalls at the San Francisco 2013 LGBT Pride Parade.
This roller coaster ride regarding Manning's invite/disinvite and how its affected San Francisco's LGBT community standing in the eyes of the world at large has been raucous. Scathing editorials from the UK's Guardian to The Village Voice have our Parade and it's Committee portrayed in less than flattering light as the story has taken on a life of its own as the Parade's decision making process on who is-or isn't-qualified to be a Honorary Grand Marshall has bounced back and forth making headlines along the way.
On Mother's Day SF Pride Committee released this decision via their Facebook page stating;
San Francisco Pride May Membership Meeting Update:
We are seeking a larger venue for the next SF Pride membership meeting, and so are postponing the May 14th meeting until a suitable location is secured. We want to allow people to have a chance to voice their opinions about the recent controversy, but also have a large event coming up, and do not want to let one issue, as important as it is to some, overshadow the concerns and interests of the hundreds of thousands who attend SF Pride.
SF Pride's decision concerning the election process of Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal being consistent with SF Pride's long-standing Grand Marshal election policy is firm. Thus, the discussion of that matter is closed for this year.
A meeting in a larger venue after the 2013 Celebration and Parade will allow people from all sides of that issue and others to fully air and hear one another's viewpoints, without jeopardizing the production of this year's event and the safety and security of the attendees. We ask everyone in the community to come together in Pride this June, recognizing that we can embrace difference without violence and hate.
If you're late to all the drama heres a brief synopsis of this years Pride's public relation nightmare:
Bradley Manning is announced as one of many Hon. Grand Marshall's of SF's 2013 LGBT Pride Parade, Pride Committee freaks over supposed rule violations and disinvited him, Committee then issues horrible explanation statement for disinvite, that fumble threw gas on what was already a bonfire, an outraged community protests, followed by an even worse bungled community meeting which was canceled after only 15 people got to participate, worldwide community protests, Pride Committee's promise of another 'larger/more open' meeting to address the situation, to now this current decision: cancel public May 14th scheduled meeting, dig in their heels and just deal with the whole debacle after the parade is over.
Rumblings throughout the activist community are already hitting a fevered pitch and the parade is still six weeks away. Several groups have expressed outrage over Pride's final edict and are gearing up for a large vocal and perhaps disruptive contingent in this years Pride Parade.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue there is one thing everyone I've spoken with seems with on the subject seems to agree on-this is really a horrendous mess.
I'd have to second that assessment.
See you at the Parade.