Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-04-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWPOINTS Bradley Manning and the cowardice of Gay, Inc.
by Andy Thayer
2013-02-24

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


In Failing to Support Bradley Manning, Gay NGOs Betray Their Own Mission Statements and Fail to Promote an Inclusive Justice Agenda

One of the signature traits of LGBT subculture in the United States is its adoration of celebrity. If a well-known person voices the most milquetoast notion that gays are human beings, let alone deserving of legal equality, banner headlines in the gay press are guaranteed. If the celebrity comes out as gay, even more effusive coverage is given.

Any number of fading stars and starlets, and non-entities on the make, from Lady Gaga to Chaz Bono to Ricky Martin, have mined the LGBT community to support their careers. Our community's eager rush to embrace just about any celebrity who deigns to notice our existence is emblematic of our lack of self-esteem, our internalized homophobia.

So why is it that all of the big gay non-profits, from the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — "Gay, Inc." — have failed to utter a word of support for Private Bradley Manning, let alone really campaign for him? He's gay, has moderately high name recognition, and unlike any number of air-head celebrities, he's actually done something to support social justice, rather than mined charitable causes for personal fame and fortune.

Manning's contributions to human rights have been recounted frequently enough to require only a brief recitation here. He exposed U.S. war crimes in Iraq www.collateralmurder.com ( Also see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_12,_2007,_Baghdad_airstrike, www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/world/middleeast/24contractors.html , www.aljazeera.com/secretiraqfiles/2010/10/2010102216241633174.html and Afghanistan en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_War_documents_leak ). His exposure of the corruption of the oligarchy in Tunisia helped kick off the 'Arab Spring,' toppling U.S.-supported dictators around the region.

He exposed the Obama administration's support for the 2009 military coup in Honduras, see resistenciahonduras.net/index.php , the first successful Latin American coup in a decade and half, that led to a wave of violence against LGBTs and others, making it the murder capital of the world.

The list goes on. No less an authority than Daniel Ellsberg, exposer of the Vietnam War era Pentagon Papers, has said Bradley Manning "is a hero in my heart. He did what he should have done."

Besides the Honduran angle — 89 LGBTs murdered over three and a half years in a country of less than 8 million, including leading activists like Walter Trochez and Erick Martinez Avila — there are other LGBT angles that NGLTF and HRC could have highlighted. The sexually humiliating torture that Manning received, stripped naked in a cell for days on end, ordered by no less than a two-star general — was tinged in homophobia, and yet where were the protests from the gay human rights groups? Not even a token press release.

If a homophobe had so much as broken Chaz Bono's finger nail, rest assured that assured GLAAD, NGLTF and HRC would have been on the case. But why the silence about Manning?

It's political cowardice. A failure to take on "difficult" political subjects, particularly when doing so might bite the (Democratic Party) hands that feed them.

This same failure of political courage is why gay NGOs routinely fail to take on powerful anti-gay forces like the Mormon Church and Catholic Church leaderships, frequently allied with powerful local and national Democratic politicians, even when these religious leaders are pushing discriminatory referenda like Prop 8. Even when such failure spells defeat for gay rights (unlike back in the day when Harvey Milk, et al., took on Anita Bryant and the Briggs Amendment, and won). See www.gayliberation.net/opinion/2010/0801whyprotestaftah.html .

It's why they take a pass on opposing pink-washing of apartheid in Israel, when they're not directly participating in it, while the Obama administration funds Israel to the tune of a record $3 billion a year. And while they may whine about budget cuts that hit AIDS funding and other social services, you won't hear them denouncing the Obama administration's military spending (equal to the rest of the world's combined), let alone its wars from Yemen to North Africa to Afghanistan that drive it.

Bradley Manning's great sin, in the view of the gay NGOs, was in exposing not just the depravity of the Bush administration's foreign policy, but Barack Obama's as well. The fact that it is Obama's Justice Department that is prosecuting Manning makes it so much the worse. That his Justice Department has prosecuted more whistle-blowers than the combined total of every President who preceded him is a particular embarrassment.

Since the late 1970s, gay NGOs have effectively acted as an adjunct of the Democratic Party, which is why they were "shocked, shocked" when Bill Clinton gave us "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act. One would never know from Gay Inc's pronouncements that the two biggest legislative attacks on gay rights of the last century were undertaken and vigorously defended by Democrats.

At the end of the day, Gay, Inc. sees its source of jobs in Democratic administrations, its executive directorships with six-figure salaries, its charity balls and other celebrity-driven hoopla as more important than gay rights. And when individual LGBTs like Bradley Manning through their own courage expose the human rights fakery of Democratic politicians, they can twist in the wind.

Just as much of the anti-war movement was "anti-war" only when a Republican president was leading the wars, much of the gay movement is pro-gay only when it's non-Democrats who are anti-gay.

The Obama administration is leading the attack on the most important whistle-blower of our era, a gay man whose persecution was tinged with homophobia. The Honduran coup, which it supported and Manning helped expose, is murdering LGBTs and others at a horrific rate.

While Gay, Inc. keeps quiet, lapping up favors from its political allies, we must not.

Andy Thayer is a co-founder of the Chicago-based Gay Liberation Network. He can be reached at LGBTliberation@aol.com .


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

LETTERS Issues and answers 2015-04-22
VIEWS Conversion therapy's deadly outcomes 2015-04-22
VIEWS Writing For Justice: The dangerous myth of individualism 2015-04-15
VIEWS: MOMBIAN New edition enlivens 'Two Mommies' for families today 2015-04-15
Transforming Gender: The Edge of the Knife 2015-04-08
Larry Kramer: Thirty-four years and counting 2015-04-08
VIEWS In God we crust 2015-04-08
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Double standards 2015-04-07
Open To Thinking: On Religion 2015-04-01
VIEWS Paying tribute to Andrew Patner 2015-04-01
PASSAGES Former Chicagoan Stan Dale Boyer dies 2015-03-29
Reproductive Justice at the Intersections: Abortion access is an LGBT issue 2015-03-25
VIEWS The love that dare not speak its name 2015-03-25
Letters: Going for Garcia 2015-03-25
VIEWS Discrimination is not religious freedom 2015-03-18
LETTERS: A matter of money 2015-03-18
VIEWS Stunned in Selma 2015-03-14
Writing For Justice: Does voting actually matter? 2015-03-11
VIEWS Boston's forgotten role in the women's movement 2015-03-11
Open To Thinking: Remembering Selma 2015-03-04
VIEWS The second coming of the man who would be queen 2015-03-04
VIEWS Gay or not, polo harms horses 2015-03-04
VIEWS: MOMBIAN Equity in the doctor's office 2015-03-04
Transcending the Blacklist: Coalitions consist of distinct communities 2015-02-25
VIEWS A road map beyond Black History Month 2015-02-25
MARK MY WORDS Loss of a pioneer 2015-02-25
LETTERS Not cool for school 2015-02-18
VIEWS LGBT parenting is a reproductive justice issue 2015-02-18
Black Youth Project 100, changing world one meeting at a time 2015-02-11
VIEWS Remembering the Lovings this Valentine's Day 2015-02-11
VIEWS The case of Bruce Jenner, and our transphobia 2015-02-11
Open To Thinking: Satire and Freedom 2015-02-04
VIEWS Historic Black LGBTQ talk on 'Selma' takes place 2015-01-28
Letters to the editor: Bowled over 2015-01-28
VIEWS Martin Luther King Jr.'s expansive dream 2015-01-21
Open To Thinking: The Grand Jury and Civil Rights 2015-01-07
VIEWS The day after Christmas 2015-01-07
VIEWS How to be a better ally (from someone still learning) 2014-12-31
VIEWS MOMBIAN Seeking LGBTQ parents in history 2014-12-31
LETTERS Grants slippery slopes; Honoring Goerge? 2014-12-31
 



Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.