Chelsea Manning was ‘attacked by police with riot gear and pepper spray’ at Pride

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning said she supports New York City Pride’s decision to ban police after she and other LGBT+ people were “attacked with riot gear and pepper spray” in the summer of 2020.

The renowned security expert and whistleblower detailed her opposition to uniformed police taking part in Pride marches after The New York Times‘ editorial board published its own widely-criticised view.

In the article, the newspaper’s editorial board said New York City Pride’s decision was a “politicised response” to anti-LGBT+ violence. They argued the move is “a poke in the eye at law enforcement more than a meaningful action to address police violence or foster a dialogue about law enforcement reform”.

Many queer people criticised The New York Times‘ view on Twitter, and Chelsea Manning used the opportunity to reflect on police violence at last summer’s Queer Liberation March in Manhattan, which stood against police brutality and in support of Black lives.

Responding to the article, Manning wrote: “They attacked us – at Pride – unprovoked – with riot gear and pepper spray – last summer – in Washington Square Park – I was there.”

Pride can’t just be about ‘visibility and inclusion’, says Chelsea Manning

In a series of tweets, Manning criticised the editorial board for its “focus on visibility and inclusion”, saying its approach only “reinforces the existing systems of power and control that keep marginalised communities down”.

“Commodification of identity benefits only some individuals at the expense of enabling police brutality, immigration enforcement, and overseas wars,” Chelsea Manning wrote.

“The elders of the queer and trans community like Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera embraced radical ideas, and called themselves revolutionaries and built a powerful movement despite not directly benefiting from this themselves.”

She added: “I love the energy this community has now that we’ve learned these lessons again.”

New York City Pride announced on Saturday (15 May) that it was banning police from all its events until 2025 in a challenge to the force to acknowledge the harm they have caused to the LGBT+ community.

“NYC Pride is unwilling to contribute in any way to creating an atmosphere of fear or harm for members of the community,” the organisation said in a statement.

“The steps being taken by the organisation challenge law enforcement to acknowledge their harm and to correct course moving forward, in hopes of making an impactful change.”