US: San Francisco Pride names Chelsea Manning ‘Honorary Grand Marshal’ again

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San Francisco Pride has confirmed that Wikileaks soldier Chelsea Manning will be Honorary Grand Marshal of this year’s parade, after similar plans were scuppered last year.

Last year the organisers were forced to go back on an announcement, when the plans were vetoed by the organising board.

According to The Advocate, the board has this year named Manning to “repair a rift the controversy created”.

A statement from Manning, who is currently serving a 35 year sentence in Fort Leavenworth military prison, 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 honoured to receive this title.”

Confusion was caused last year because a committee of former Pride marshals selected Manning, but the main Pride board subsequently decided not to extend the honour to her.

Gary Virginia, the new president of San Francisco Pride’s board, said that the plans last year were “mishandled”.

He said: “I want to publicly apologize to Chelsea Manning and her supporters on behalf of SF Pride, and we look forward to a proper honour this year.”

“Even with this controversy, thousands of Manning supporters in the 2013 Pride Parade represented the largest non-corporate, walking contingent in the parade.”