San Francisco Pride organizers name Chelsea Manning honorary grand marshal

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ChelseaManning_byAliciaNeal-243x300

An artist's sketch for Chelsea Manning. - IMAGE: CMSN

Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower in prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, is the honorary grand marshal of this year's San Francisco Pride parade.

Manning, in a statement released through her support network, said, "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."

The statement noted that Manning uses an asterisk after "trans" to "denote not only transgender men and women, but also those who identify outside of a gender binary."

Last spring, Manning was selected as one of several grand marshals in the 2013 parade. But within 24 hours of making the selection public, the Pride parade board president rescinded the honor, trigger widespread controversy and debate in the national LGBT community.

Since then, Manning has been convicted of multiple offenses for providing classified documents to WikiLeaks. She also has come out as transgender and is waging a campaign for fair and respectful treatment of transgender people in the federal and military prison systems.

This year's San Francisco Pride board president, Gary Virginia said in a statement, "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 parade takes place on June 29 and the Chelsea Manning Support Network plans a large presence.

The network is working to help raise money for Manning’s legal appeals, as well as to further her request for hormone replacement therapy and a legal name change.

IMAGE THIS PAGE: How Chelsea Manning sees herself as a trans woman. This image was created by artist Alicia Neal, in cooperation with Manning, according to the Chelsea Manning Support Network.