Pride annually honors and commemorates the 1969 Stonewall rebellion, when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, primarily people of color, fought back against police brutality and harassment of LGBT communities. When police attempted to raid the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan in New York City, bar patrons and people on the streets refused to comply and fought back, forcing the cops to barricade themselves in the bar itself. The rebellion continued for several nights and later, along with earlier struggles of LGBTQ people throughout the country, fostered a militant movement that demanded LGBTQ rights.
This year, Workers World salutes two LGBTQ heroes who have continued in the legacy of the rebellions against sexual and gender oppression by standing proud and fighting attacks against our class. Pfc. B. Manning released documents and videos that exposed U.S. imperialism’s war crimes and the U.S. government’s support of corrupt regimes around the world. For Manning’s efforts — in combating real terrorism committed under the guise of the “war on terror” — the Pentagon imprisoned this hero. Manning has suffered horrific conditions of torture and solitary confinement within the prison walls.
Our support of Manning this year is also in solidarity with those who protest the San Francisco Pride Board’s decision to reject Manning’s prior selection as grand marshal of this year’s Pride parade there (see workers.org for fuller coverage of this struggle). Despite this rejection, a contingent will march at San Francisco Pride to salute Manning. And marching with them will be Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971 in order to expose the false pretext for escalating the U.S. war against Vietnam.
Our other hero is CeCe McDonald, a young African-American transwoman who defended herself and her friends from a racist, bigoted attack by a group of white thugs in Minneapolis. One of her attackers, who had a swastika tattooed on his body, ended up dead in the melee. Yet rather than charging the racists for initiating a despicable attack against LGBTQ people of color, the U.S. “justice” system instead imprisoned McDonald for the killing.
Workers World always asserts the right of any oppressed people to defend themselves, but a recent increase in violence against LGBTQ people makes the right to self-defense all the more urgent and necessary. People like CeCe McDonald, who not only defended herself but also the loved ones around her, are truly freedom fighters.
We say: Free CeCe McDonald! Free B. Manning! Stonewall Means Fight Back!