Organizers of the San Francisco Pride parade that last year scuttled plans for Chelsea Manning to be grand marshal are trying to repair a rift the controversy created.
Manning is named as an "honorary grand marshal" on a list published by organizers this weekend via the official pride website. And SF Pride's new board president, Gary Virginia, said in a statement that Manning's nomination in 2013 was "mishandled."
"Even with this controversy, thousands of Manning supporters in the 2013 Pride Parade represented the largest non-corporate, walking contingent in the parade," Virginia noted. "I want to publicly apologize to Chelsea Manning and her supporters on behalf of SF Pride, and we look forward to a proper honor this year.”
Manning issued a statement from prison, delivered via the Chelsea Manning Support Network, thanking the organizers for the honor.
“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," Manning said in the statement. "I have always enjoyed attending Pride celebrations given the opportunity, and I'm deeply honored to receive this title.”
Manning is serving out 35 years in prison for her role in leaking a barrage of classified information to Wikileaks. Manning's role is controversial because while some consider Manning a whistleblower, others see her only as a convicted criminal.
The 2013 parade happened after the Supreme Court struck down Proposition 8 and included a number of high-profile politicians joining the celebration. This year's list of grand marshals is included below:
Celebrity Grand Marshals
Community Grand Marshals
Tommi Avicolli Mecca
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy
Organizational Community Grand Marshal
Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal
Honorary Grand Marshal