To the cheers of thousands, queer liberation, anti-war, and Pfc. B. Manning contingents marched in united fashion with the International Action Center’s Stonewall Warriors in this year’s Boston Gay Pride March on June 8. Banners and placards supporting wrongfully imprisoned African-American transwoman CeCe MacDonald festooned the contingent. Progressive African-American Boston City Councilor Charles Yancey, a candidate for mayor, and openly gay Afro-Latino Francisco White, an at-large candidate for City Council, marched along with the contingent.
Jason Collins was featured in a lead contingent in the Pride march. This African-American National Basketball Association player came out last month, making him the first openly gay player in a professional team sport.
Most significant was the presence of the Smedley Butler Brigade of Veterans for Peace and several Pfc. Manning contingents, which were encouraged by the Boston Pride Committee to march with the LGBTQ community for the first time. Three months ago, VFP invited the LGBTQ community to march with them in South Boston in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which both communities have been banned from for years by the pro-war Allied Veterans of South Boston. VFP’s actions led to an alternative Peace Parade on the same day as the Allied Veterans parade.
Team Solidarity, a militant organization of Boston area school bus workers, joined Stonewall Warriors with a sound-stage float that helped give voice and political rhythm to the contingent. Decorated with photos of Pvt. Manning, CeCe McDonald, Trayvon Martin, and Tarek Mehanna, the float’s lead banner read: “Labor Says – Solidarity Against Racism, Sexism, Transphobia, Homophobia & War!”
Pfc. Manning support contingents are being organized in many Pride parades this year, including in San Francisco, Atlanta, New York, Chicago and San Diego. Both the San Francisco Trans march and Dyke march are honoring Manning, despite the San Francisco Pride Board of Directors’ overriding the selection of Pfc. Manning as grand marshal in the San Francisco Pride parade. The Bay Area community will be fielding a massive Manning contingent in that city’s Pride march as a result.
The growing unity and coalition between the anti-war movement and the LGBTQ community is becoming a leading edge of struggle against the Pentagon war machine, reminiscent of the work of the historic Gay Liberation Front in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During that period the GLF — which developed directly out of the Stonewall Rebellion of June 1969 — supported Ho Chi Minh and the National Liberation Front of Vietnam. The NLF was eventually victorious over U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Gen. William Westmoreland and a U.S. invading army of 500,000.
The GLF in New York City and Washington, D.C., in particular, demonstrated with the Black Panther Party 21 and played a major role in the 1970 Panther Revolutionary Constitutional Convention. To read about this history, see Leslie Feinberg’s “Lavender and Red” series at workers.org.
Free Pfc. Manning and CeCe MacDonald!