Have Gay Rights Groups Abandoned Bradley Manning?
By Christopher Carbone / theguardian.com
Jul 30, 2013

Mainstream LGBT rights groups like Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD have stayed quiet about Manning

Gay 25-year-old US army private Bradley Manning stood trial for supposedly aiding the enemy by passing classified information to Wikileaks, including several hundred thousand pages of army reports, diplomatic cables and information that detailed the killing of civilians by American soldiers. His verdict is expected today.

The trial, which ended last week, was marked by government intimidation of the media and comes after Manning spent almost a year in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, prompting international outrage.

One of the interesting factors is that two of the largest and most well funded LGBT rights groups in the US have stayed quiet about Manning, his reprehensible treatment in custody and his trial. Why has Manning, whose revelations about the US Army's actions epitomize social justice in action, gotten the cold shoulder from the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)? The silence of these groups has been deafening.

First, Manning is the opposite of everything that these groups seek to portray as the image of "gay Americans". I use those quotes because the majority of LGBT Americans don't conform to these upwardly mobile, white, polished, virile male stereotypes. Manning doesn't look like CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. With his slight frame, lower-class background, questioning of his gender identity, inability to hold down a typical job, general dorkiness and dysfunctional family life, Manning does not fit the poster boy image that GLAAD or the HRC would hold up and promote. It's bizarre because Manning is actually what many, if not most, LGBT people have been at one point or another – an outsider, a loner, a person who does not fit in or conform.

Second, organizations like the HRC, which had net assets of over $32.7m at the end of last year and claims more than a millions members and supporters, happens to have the financial backing of major military industrial corporations, including Lockheed Martin, which is sponsoring the HRC's upcoming national gala in Washington DC and Booz Allen Hamilton, a corporate partner for the national event, as well as Northrop Grumman a sponsor of their Los Angeles gala.

US government contracts account for at least 85% of Lockheed Martin'swork, Northrop Grumman is intricately tied to our military and Booz Allen Hamilton is wrapped up in Washington's lobbying morass – kicking into high gear now that legislators are finally considering limits on the NSA's surveillance capabilities.

There was no quid pro quo, however, the HRC and GLAAD know exactly where their bread is buttered. The Human Rights Campaign spent millions of dollars and countless volunteer hours to lobby for the repeal of Don't ask, don't tell, ensuring that patriotic and law-abiding gays and lesbians can continue to serve in the US military and fight its wars in far-flung places.

Each of these defense organizations depends on federal money; therefore, the more able-bodied young men and women who sign up for the US military, the better. The more the American war-making machine expands, even if shrouded in utter secrecy, the better. GLAAD has had Goldman Sachs (that bastion of awesomeness) as a patron of its media awards in the past and Verizon (remember those agreements with the NSA?) as a supporter while doling out awards to men like Anderson Cooper, who came out at the height of his career after following in the footsteps of other journalists, and Bill Clinton, the man responsible for DADT and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Self-censorship is a beautiful thing. It can't be proven. It occurs as a matter of course and is a great example of the banal, duplicitous intertwined relationships between the military industrial complex, the US government and corporate nonprofits. Why would the Human Rights Campaign risk offending the sensibilities of Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton and Northrop Grumman? Because these and other defense companies, drowning in profit, might turn off the "diversity" spigot that sustains the Human Rights Campaign.

Why wouldn't GLAAD support a frail, maladjusted young queer man whose efforts exposed US military malfeasance? It's much easier – and requires no courage whatsoever – to honor those who are privileged and already at the very top of society. Abandoned by these mainstream rights organizations, who will speak up in defense of Manning?

• This commentary was amended on 30 July 2013 to clarify that Goldman Sachs was a patron of GLAAD's media awards.

3.5 ·
1
Trending Today
Globalization Makes No Sense
Chris Agnos · 21,563 views today · When I lived in San Francisco, I often would marvel at the movement of goods through the ports across the bay in Oakland. Full container ships would enter the bay one after...
Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body
4 min · 9,995 views today · Vestigial structures are evolution's leftovers — body parts that, through inheritance, have outlived the context in which they arose. Some of the most delightful reminders of...
Stunning Small Homes Form Part of a Communal Compound for Best Friends
Lighter Side · 6,973 views today · If you’re lucky enough to have longtime friends even as an adult, then you know probably already know how much it means to be able to spend time together. Maybe you even have a...
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 6,953 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
The Most Astounding Fact about the Universe
3 min · 6,451 views today · This is Neil Degrasse Tyson's response when asked to describe the most astounding fact about the universe. Background music is the cinematic orchestra - To build a home.
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 4,060 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
The Foiled Bomb Plot in Kansas That Didn't Make Trump's Terror List
5 min · 3,856 views today · When a plot by a pro-white militia to bomb a Somali mosque in Kansas was foiled by the FBI last October, the aborted conspiracy received little national coverage - nor did it...
The London Anarchist Group Squatting Mansions to Fight Homelessness
6 min · 3,722 views today · London squatting activists ANAL (Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians) are squatting empty multi-million pound buildings and opening them up to the homeless.
The Fire Within
Words by Sophie Scholl - Illustrations by Gavin Aung Than · 3,541 views today · Sophie Scholl (1921-1943) was a German activist who is famous for speaking out against the Nazi regime. Scholl was a member of a protest group called The White Rose, which...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 3,097 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
To Change Everything, Start Everywhere
8 min · 2,372 views today · To Change Everything, Start Everywhere! The case for complete self-determination—a guide for the furious, the curious, and the pure of heart. To Change Everything: An...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 1,911 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
From Sanctuary City to Liberated City
Frank Lara · 1,820 views today · In just one week, with several strokes of a pen, Trump unleashed upon the working class in the U.S. an attack not seen in decades. From his attack on the flawed Affordable Care...
Transition From Caterpillar to Butterfly as Analogy for Social Change
4 min · 1,772 views today · An exceprt from Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview in which Dr. Bruce Lipton talks about the fractal nature of reality and compares the current global awakening and the...
Redneck Revolt Presents: A Message to the Patriot Movement
6 min · 1,724 views today · Over the past few weeks, Redneck Revolt has been communicating with a former member of a III% Patriot Militia based out of Ohio. Peter made contact with our organization after...
Voices of Standing Rock
49 min · 1,708 views today · Short stories told by water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Part 1 - Introduction: Since mid-August 2016, thousands have set up camp near the Standing Rock Sioux...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 1,301 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
Michael Moore Wants to Help You Find Your Next Anti-Trump Protest
Sarah Ruiz-Grossman · 1,256 views today · The Resistance Calendar lists upcoming rallies across the country.
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 1,114 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
The Lessons of Standing Rock
Michael Emero · 1,048 views today · In mid-November of 2016, I was a Water Protector at Standing Rock. At first my goal was to play investigative journalist; documenting then writing about every detail for my...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Have Gay Rights Groups Abandoned Bradley Manning?