Please continue to support SF Pride’s Board’s new policy against military recruiters (see below) and plan on joining the Chelsea Manning contingent inSan Francisco Sunday June 29.  We also urge you to support Chelsea Manning by organizing a contingent at your Pride event, where ever you are in the world, and let us know so we can help publicise widely.   

chelsea manning.jpg

On Feb 4th 2014 witnessed by an enthusiastic audience, the San Francisco Pride Board voted unanimously for two crucial motions.

1)      For Chelsea Manning to be an Honorary Grand Marshal for 2014 SF lgbtq Pride.

2)      To ban military recruiters from Pride. (see exact wording of both motions below)

We’ve just heard that the California State Military Reserves (CSMR) has approached the SF Pride Board to request a booth at the Pride festival, claiming they are not ‘military’.  This is a blatant lie. Their web page, at http://csmrsoldier.com/sample-page-2/, says:

The California State Military Reserve is the Golden State’s official state defense force. It is a part of the California Military Department, along with the state’s Army National Guard and Air National Guard. the President of the United States has constitutional authority to call all state militias (which would include the CSMR) to national service in an emergency…CSMR Soldiers also assist in the Global War on Terror, by helping train National Guardsmen in a variety of functions, including weapons and tactics. (bold by QS)

The CSMR request for a booth at SF Pride is a tactic to undermine SF Pride's new policy against military recruiters at the festival.  We are proud that our new Board has taken this bold stand, showing their accountability to the queer anti-war majority. San Francisco has a long tradition of being against war and we are a sanctuary city.

Like our queer sister Chelsea Manning who is paying with her freedom for revealing war crimes by the US military, we urge everyone to be strong in protecting this policy. This year we are honoring Chelsea Manning as a Grand Marshal, we knew there would be a backlash and the Boards response was good. We knew this military recruiter ban would be challenged, so we urge everyone to be determined to defend it.  Increasingly, private military contractors, state militia, National Guard and the police coordinate efforts and sophisticated war technology, like drones and other weapons of mass destruction.  SF Pride’s mission statement says ‘we should liberate our people’, this can only mean by being for life and against killing and the horrific environmental destruction of our beautiful earth that war brings. 

Queer Strike 
and Payday men’s network

See background and motions below…

Taking Pride: Victory for Chelsea Manning and the Whole Anti-War movement!

It was our queer heroine Chelsea Manning‘s blowing the whistle on war crimes, who sparked the lgbtq and anti-war movements’ blowing the whistle on SF Pride. Her truth-telling exposed the rape, torture and murder of women, children and men especially in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan This was a deeply anti-racist act, as the vast majority of people affected by war and occupation are people of color.


Her leaks confirmed how obscene it is that so many people internationally and in communities in the US, including San Francisco, are suffering from extreme poverty and don't have the basics of life --drinkable water, food security, housing, healthcare -- while the US military is lavished with funds for slaughtering untold numbers of people, including lgbtq people, and destroying the environment of our beautiful earth in the interests of the 1%.


Chelsea Manning will finally receive the recognition she deserves from SF Pride and we have kicked military recruiters out of the biggest Pride event in the US, one which over 1 million people attend and millions more watch on media!



Grand Marshal, Not Court Martial

In April 2013 SF Pride Board elected Chelsea Manning as 2013 Grand Marshal of the SF Pride parade.  They then rescinded that vote, twisting the story by claiming that Chelsea’s actions put troops in danger, well the truth is the troops are in danger because they are armed to defend illegal wars and to occupy countries where they are not wanted. The community exploded in outrage and a series of protests began. These stinging words from the Board,  even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform… will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride”, ignited our anger, giving voice to the anti-military principles that were part our movements founding. The Grand Marshal, Not Court Martial Coalition formed to mobilize community support and one result was that the Chelsea Manning contingent was the largest grassroots contingent at Pride and won several awards. The news of this campaign was publicized nationally and internationally and a petition was launched putting further pressure on the SF Pride Board.


Contingent participants got a shock as we arrived at the end of the march at the plaza and found that military recruiters had a booth at the celebration site. This had never occurred before in Pride’s history. The booth was shut down by a crowd of protesters, who surrounded it and blocked the recruiter’s access to the public.  Despite tremendous pressure, the Pride Board never acknowledged wrong-doing for slandering Chelsea; for not consulting the queer community on whether to allow military recruiters at Pride.


A new Board

By now, many felt it was time for the old Board to be removed from office. By September the Transparency, Accountability and Democracy slate, many of whom were Chelseasupporters, had won the majority of seats on the Board.  This was because many of us signed up to be members of Pride, which, unlike in most non-profit organizations, gave us voting rights. A process of cleaning up the organization had begun. The Fall meetings were a battleground for months.


Military: Out of the lgbtq community

During this period a Town Hall meeting on the military recruiters was organized. At this meeting, the men with few exceptions were leaning towards allowing military recruiters and the women were roundly opposed.  The discussion had great honesty, frankness and painful moments with many saying how the military had personally impacted their lives. There has been a long history of gay refuseniks who have refused to kill, rape or torture for the military.  Stephen Funk, a young gay man of Filipino and Native American descent, was one of them - the first US soldier to make a public stand against the war in Iraq. The point was also made that San Francisco has a long anti-war history and Pride could expect a protest every year against the military booths if they allowed them again.  In the end most were swayed into supporting a ban. 

There has been a deep split in the lgbtq community on the military, with conservative elite lgbtq people pushing a government pro-military agenda and having the resources to lobby and dominate the national lgbtq agenda. Although many of us are anti-military and against lgbtq people going into the military, others were not. It was not clear that the vote to kick the recruiters out would actually pass.  In the end, although many of us found  the language wanting, a motion to stop the military recruitment booths at Pride passed unanimously!  A powerful message is being sent from SF Pride which we hope will encourage other cities to take strong anti-military stands.


A fresh lgbtq movement

These victories, honoring Chelsea Manning and what she did, and against military recruiting at Pride, show that in San Francisco as in many other places, the grassroots queer movement, including many newly enthusiastic young queers, are taking a fresh look at what can be accomplished with collective work. It is time for Pride to take action against the crisis issues so many of us are facing – poverty, homelessness, lack of healthcare, and lack of the support we need as we get older. This poverty leaves many young queer people (disproportionately people of color and immigrants) prey to the military in the first place.

Here are the motions as they passed:

·         San Francisco Pride Board of Directors elects to name Chelsea Manning as an Honorary Grand Marshal for the 2014 Pride Parade and Celebration

·         SF Pride applauds the suspension of the U.S. Armed Forces “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, officially ending more than two centuries of anti-homosexual discrimination by that institution.  SF Pride supports and honors the members of our community who are now serving or have served in the U.S. Armed Services.  Nevertheless, because of the ongoing institutional practices of discrimination against transgender people; the use of misleading advertising specifically targeting economically disadvantaged youth, including LGBT youth; and the danger faced by women and men of sexual assault, rape and harassment by other members of the U.S. Armed Services; the SF  LGBT Pride Committee does not deem U.S. Armed Services recruiters an appropriate entity for participation in our exhibitor or corporate sponsorship programs.


Queer Strike                        wwww.refusingtokill.net