Archives for posts with tag: Bradley Manning

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This morning, before dawn, I began wondering about the Supreme Court DOMA and Prop 8 outcome… as the sun rose over the mountain I considered how important the result seems to so many people.

Marriage Equality.  Something I had grown used to ignoring.  The idea.  The idea of getting married.  An alien notion.

Yet, many ordinary American people seem to really care very deeply that people like me can get married.

Gay men tell me, those most affected by DOMA… that they feel like second class citizens.  How is that so?  Will they feel like first class citizens now?  As we acquiesce into existing institutions.

I wondered about the justices.  Our elders.  Those making sweeping decrees about our lives in this litigious country.

Congress and the Senate hog tied by dogma, unable to make any sort of decision.

They announced on the morning news that DOMA was overturned.  Eight white people stood on the steps of the Suprem Court and held their hands up jubilantly… victoriously.   Melissa Etheridge said she was proud to be an American.   A white man said that this would change the lives of gay people ‘all over the world’.  Don Lemons took his camera crew into a gay bar.  “If you’ve never been inside a gay bar before, this is what it looks like.”  The cameras ambled in.  There were a few white lesbians in their mid fifties and a drag queen playing a piano.

I started ranting on Facebook and Twitter.

I said: ‘I’m remembering queer hero Bradley Manning. He will have to get married in jail. The issues of privacy, hegemony and cruelty remain. Monsanto et al can breathe a sigh of relief as this gay issue deflects attention from them. This may be a great day for lgbtq Americans… unless you are black or a woman. Those inequalities still remain.’

I quoted a friend from Arizona:  “I’ve felt second class or less than my straight contemporaries every day of my life growing up in the US. Guess you would have to have been born and raised here to understand Duncan”.

There seems to be a great deal riding on this DOMA decision.  Self Esteem, A First Class Life, Equality.

He was, however, the first person to confirm what I always feared.  That some gay men compare their lives to the lives of straight people and despair… they despair that they are not as valued as straight people.  It made me sad.

I knew in my heart that DOMA would be overturned.  “You’ve got to give them hope.”  Harvey Milk said.  This is the hope.  After a week of catastrophic decisions for those interested in civil rights:  the evisceration of voting rights, work place bullying condoned, Monsanto unchallenged.  It has been a catastrophic week in America for whistle blowers… for the truth… for the constitution. In Florida it’s a bad week for young black men gunned down for no good reason.

Today was a great day to be pink washed.

A great day to set aside your disappointments for a moment and celebrate.

So, I decided to listen to Keith Jarrett‘s Koln Concert and wrap up warm… I decided to make hot chocolate.

I was 15 when that album was released.

I sat on the terrace listening to the piano echo through the canyon.  I celebrated my single life.

I am not, any time soon, going to get married.  I am not, any time soon, going to propose to anyone.  I am not, any time soon, going to sweep another man off his feet.

Whilst so many around me are.

After a day of fury yesterday I feel much calmer today.

The great thing about anger management?  Legitimate anger.  I have good reason to be angry.

Yesterday was a very angry day.  The neighbors started building their un-permitted retaining walls at 6am.  They are meant to start at 7am.  This isn’t the first time I have been woken by them earlier than they are permitted.  I stood on the deck and screamed.  The white contractor called me an asshole.  I said, “This asshole is going to shit in your face.”  The Mexicans laughed.  The white guy looked horrified.  “Where’s your permit? ” I demanded.  They downed tools until 8am.

I drove to Venice.  I was knocked into by a young woman eager to get to the counter at GTA.  She apologized but it wasn’t good enough.  I said, “This is what’s wrong with your country, you’ll knock over anyone to get what you want.”

The perfectly revolting British Tara Summers arrived for lunch.  Her friend asked me to move my car.  I threw the keys at her and told her to move it herself.

My lunch arrived. Pork Belly sandwich.  I sat opposite a 30’s something guy in a suit with his 60’s something dad.  They were enjoying the day.  I prayed that they didn’t speak to me but they wanted to talk about the dogs.  I kept my answers short.  Then the personal questions came.  Where are you from?  What do you do? How long have you lived here?  So, knowing that I was not in the best mood to have any conversation I asked what he did here in LA.  He was a public prosecutor.

I couldn’t believe my luck.  There was the father and son, a young black man sitting on his own and me with the dogs in the court-yard eating our lunch.

I couldn’t help myself.  I asked if he knew the corrupt and rabid prosecutors I had to deal with.  He did not.

I told him that I knew a prosecutor called Todd R (now an entertainment lawyer) who would get blown by hookers at lunch time when he was prosecuting in court.  Leaving the courtroom to break the law.  Prosecuting others then breaking the law himself.

His father laughed.

I looked directly into the younger man’s eyes.  “Have you got morals?”  I asked him.

His father said, “I used to spank him.”

“You might have spanked him for not wanting to join the KKK.”  I said.  They laughed.  They thought I was joking.

The lawyer was intrigued.  “Why do you ask?’

“Because 80% of the prison population are black.”  I said.  “I wonder how you live with yourself.”

“How do you live with yourself when you know the jails have become mental hospitals nursed by sadists?”

Then I started a tirade that lasted a good five minutes.  I covered as much ground as I could, including work place discrimination and the essential difference between the rights of straight and gay people.  I asked him if he had ever considered the differences?  I asked him if he had ever considered anyone other than himself and his own needs?

I ended with, “I’ve been radicalized by your country.”   He looked taken aback, “Are you a Muslim?”   I smiled into his dumb, entitled face.  “No.  I’m queer. I am a radical queer.”

I met a boy on Grindr.  We had coffee.

I can’t remember where I went next but we all ended up (me, Lily and Chuck) in Duke’s eating $3 tacos.

There are so many straight people on our side.  There are lots who are not.

Remember gays and lesbians. We would not have won this battle without the help of others. People with no stake in this fight other than your happiness.

Now, go help those not so fortunate as they have helped you.

Painted Map

Written for Beige in the UK and published today.

My inaugural letter from America is sent at a time when American secrets and lies take center stage.

I’m staying in Petrolia, Northern California, eleven hours from my home in Los Angeles with Daisy Cockburn, the daughter of Emma Tennant and political journalist and contrarian Alexander Cockburn who sadly died last year.  I am writing at his desk overlooking his wild and beautiful garden.  Alexander Cockburn, like his friend Noam Chomsky, would have slammed the US government for the actions of the NSA recently revealed by Edward Snowden.

Whilst I am amused by the audacious lengths government will go to hold onto its own secrets while harvesting yours… he was not.  Like this present generation of internet babies… I have never valued secrets.  I am an open book. I have always believed that everything I am is yours.

Do you remember the biggest secret you had to keep?  You know, the queer secret?

When I realized I was different, that my sexual/social narrative did not correspond with those around me, I was baffled as to how I should make the difference known.  I was just a child.  I did not ‘come out of the closet’. I didn’t understand why I should make a big emotional announcement. I decided that I wouldn’t tell anyone. My actions would speak louder than words.  It was up to them, those around me, to frame the reveal. Not me.

It was obvious that being queer, telling people that I was queer during the 1970’s… was like letting off a bomb. It was an act of terrorism.  For some, it still is.  Holding my lover’s hand in the street… a rebellion.

So, instead of having a difficult conversation with my secular loved ones about my sexuality, I spoke openly about my same-sex desires, my plans and my heroes.  They looked askance but they got used to it… or else.  I was a teenage whistleblower.

There is nothing more honorable than being a whistleblower.

This month, two extraordinary whistleblowers are top of the news.  Queer hero Bradley Manning and straight hero Edward Snowden.  Manning is currently on trial in a semi-secret military kangaroo court and unlikely ever to be released. The other brave whistleblower, Edward Snowden, a fugitive in Hong Kong, unlikely to see his country of origin ever again.

My gay brothers and sisters in the USA have, on the most part, turned their back on Bradley Manning citing his law breaking as treasonous. Maligning his motives, distancing themselves from his gay story.  Manning’s narrative is bound up with the recently abandoned DADT, a messy ‘coming out’, Manning’s extreme family poverty and the witnessing of cruel and illegal horrors that no man should ever see.

Manning has unwittingly created a schism in the LGBTQ community, cleaving the queers from the gays.  The queers have on the most part embraced Manning, his activism and conscientious objection. The gays have not.  The Queers had Manning elected as a San Francisco gay pride parade grand marshal in late April, but the LGBTQ board quickly rescinded the ‘honor’ after a white male gay outcry.

Queer supporters of Manning held demonstrations, crowded a Pride board meeting and packed a community forum all with the hopes of seeing Manning reinstated as a grand marshal. The Pride board has not budged.

Why are the majority of USA gays so repulsed by Manning?

Perhaps if Manning had been a muscular, army guy of the gay-for-pay porn star variety so popular amongst the gays, they may have ‘evolved’ a different point of view.  Manning is not that guy. He is small and slight and wan.  He joined the army to get an education and ironically ended up educating the whole world.

He is lauded by Michael Moore, Vietnam Vets, heterosexual politicians/presidents and liberal intellectuals all over the world.  His actions are widely credited with hastening an American withdrawal from Iraq and the Arab Spring.

To many across the world Bradley Manning is a hero.

Yet, the gay establishment ignore Bradley. He is routinely ignored by the HRC and GLAAD. He is viciously bullied on anonymous gay, online discussion boards.  GLAAD would rather honor a homophobic, straight film director rather than one of our brave own.

Many of the USA gays who publicly hate Manning are upper middle-class, affluent white men.  They seem embarrassed and angry by his openness, his honesty, his despair.   They call him impertinent, arrogant and narcissistic.  Yet, had Bradley Manning been a bone fide journalist with a fancy ivy league degree he might have become a hero… or like Edward Snowden who currently enjoys the support of over 100, 000 people on the White House petition page demanding a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.

There is no such petition for Bradley Manning.  Bradley was not well-educated… he’s a white trash gay kid with ideas above his rank.

His detractors, formerly closeted gay men, have their own relationship with the truth.  By necessity, after years of experience, they have become slick liars, natural spies, covert experts. In their every day life they create the illusion of perfection: socially, physically and sexually. A tribe of American gay men who have an overwhelming urge to be over-achievers.  They are clean-cut and conservative in appearance, they throw themselves into their jobs with the same fervency they got through school.

They champion marriage and the military rather than the end of LGBTQ jobs discrimination.  They have no interest in helping others in the coalition of oppressed minorities cobbled together by President Obama because they do not consider themselves an oppressed minority.

Why should they?  They are white, affluent and male.  What’s not to be proud of?

Since I arrived in the USA I have (rather proudly) been subject to not one… but two gagging orders imposed on me by white gay men.

Both ex-intimates, both terrified of having their secret gay lives revealed.  Professional white men, a 32-year-old and a 45-year-old.   The younger man works for a famous publishing house and is perhaps the most interesting because he supposedly respects the first amendment.   The other, a rich businessman caught lying and cheating.

The former was well ensconced in his comfy closet when I first met him, about to be married to a women, living a double life. When I found out about his deception I told him,  “Either you tell the woman you are deceiving… or I will.”

When I tell white gay men this story they are outraged.  They blame the deceived woman for being dumb.  Their thinly veiled misogyny revealed.

“How stupid of her to not realize he was gay.”  they scold.

One Saturday morning two years ago he told her he was living a double life.  After he came out of the closet he had a great deal of sex with many men then settled down with the man he intends to marry.  Free from her sociopathic ex she is now in love with an honest heterosexual.  Of course… he demonizes me.  She probably does too.  No good deed goes unpunished.

Like a lot of over-achieving well-closeted gay men, the publisher operated under the “Best Little Boy in the World” syndrome, a term from Andrew Tobias’ seminal coming-out autobiography of the same name, published in 1973, describing a certain type of middle-to-upper-class gay man.

Gay men are still terrified of the truth: personal or public. Their worst fear when growing up was having their gay truth revealed.  We all want to control the message.  Nobody wants to be told that they are queer ahead of their own declaration.

Many gay men still behave like small boys grappling with who and what it means to be gay.  Scarred by shame, they loathe any queer person who draws negative attention to him/herself in case it tarnishes them or the gay corporation.

They loathe Bradley Manning for outing the nation.

When gay men are ready to tell the truth about being gay they demand recognition and plaudits for doing so.  A heroes welcome for coming out of the closet.  Yet, after this initial flush of candor, their honesty only extends so far.

Beyond the great revelation there is a darker side to being gay that the gay white elite doesn’t want you to know.

They have gone to extraordinary lengths to make you think we are JUST LIKE YOU.  They are still placating their heterosexual parents, school mates and the straight friends who don’t mind them being gay… as long as you don’t do anything gay around me.

The gays don’t want you to know about the meningitis epidemic, the continuing HIV epidemic, they don’t want you to know about their loneliness, their propensity for STDs, the unreasonably high gay adult male suicide rate, the sexual unmanageability, drug taking, racism, sexism, classism, narcissism and ageism that blights the gay ‘community’.  They don’t mention how they routinely commodify women’s bodies/reproductive labor so they can have children. They don’t want you to know just how hard it is to be straight acting, to be ‘masc’ or to find themselves remotely attractive when they look in the mirror.

They don’t want you to know that for many LGBTQ… it doesn’t get better.

Manning broke the first rule of the white gay American elite:  Don’t rock the boat.

The gay businessman’s gagging order expires early next year and he will, inevitably seek to extend it.  The publisher will do the same.  The problem is:  as they know all too well… the truth is eventually revealed.

I met a man.  A medical doctor.  He was well put together, handsome, the president of a large gay organization that supposedly represents the interests of the gay community.  Our trusted servant. He couldn’t stop crying.  Under his well cut trousers he had a permanent needle in his leg for jacking meth. He begged me not to write about him.

I couldn’t make that promise.  He is the perfect white gay American metaphor.

In modern America secrets both public and personal are simultaneously considered defending and deflowering at the expense of the constitution. At both micro and macro levels this secretive bipolarity has come to define my stay in the USA.

 

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The perception amongst most Americans is that Bradley Manning should never have told us what was going on because he was breaking the law.

A U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence, during a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.

The perception of most Americans is that Bradley Manning is a traitor.

More so, I imagine, than the man who shot 17 Iraqi women and children as they lay sleeping in their beds.

If a journalist with a degree had uncovered this information I believe most Americans would be ok with that.

His expensive education would somehow allow him the privilege of exposing the wrongs of the nation.

We are shooting the messenger because the messenger is poor white trash… who the hell does he think he is?

That’s what I’m hearing. That’s what’s really going on here.

Hot Wax and Chains J. Patrick Walsh

There is an endless stream of ‘good news’ on Facebook.  The parties, the marriages, the births, the home renovations and the ubiquitous instagramed plates of delicious (and not so delicious) breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The grandiose exclamations of joy and delight.  The boasting, the dressing up… the glitter and sangria.

In between the nihilistic leather soirees and endless travelogues come occasional glimpses of the pain and suffering most of us endure but seldom want to admit.  At least… not on social media.  Not to those who seem to be having the time of their lives every single day.

Two deaths this week.  One old lady I never knew and one young man I did.  Sandwiched between bottles of french wine and exotic vacations on the French Riviera is the truth.  The young American who can’t stop drinking and the miserable single woman who can’t get the man to stay.

They say, when I post my bits and pieces, that I am angry… lonely… sad.  When I don’t agree with a theme they say I am a sullen contrarian.  When I post expressions of joy I am inundated with ‘likes’ as if my happiness needs affirming.

My friend’s mother dies peacefully in the hospital bed.  He updates us by the hour.  Her final words remind us of our own mortality.  I am so grateful he tells us so.  I learn so much more from her last words than a another blurry picture of enchiladas posted at some obscure Mexican restaurant where my ‘friends’ boast of the wonderful time they are having.

I have stopped posting pictures of parties, of other people in their gorgeous homes.  I have stopped reporting which celebrities I have seen and what they were doing.  Of late I have been concentrating on injustice.  My own and others.

The realtor who engages his powerful friends to incarcerate.  We are getting to the bottom of that mucky situation.  The way the rich use government institutions to their own ends.  Corrupt district attorneys, prosecutors and law enforcement.  We are getting to the bottom of that one.  Slowly, like archeologists gently removing layer after layer of dirt… getting to what was so carefully buried.  For every corrupt official there is another eager to help.

For the time being I have to be obtuse.  That will end… sooner or later.  I am patient .  I can wait.

Bradley Manning, queer hero, his trial starts today.   Although I doubt we will get the outcome we desire and that boy will probably spend the rest of his life in jail for doing the right thing… he will not be forgotten.  Bradley Manning will not be forgotten.

Paul, my white gay friend, the talent manager.  I saw him yesterday.  He had been to a Liberace viewing party in the hills.  A bunch of straight acting gay boys watching Liberace in the opulent surroundings of an older gay man.  Their reaction was as expected… they hated it.  They didn’t see what Liberace  had to do with their lives.  You see, they complained… they wanted to see themselves.  Paul couldn’t understand why Scott Thorson (who he knows) had his story told.  He described Scott as a ‘user’.  He said he thought it was ‘unfair’ that Scott’s story was told rather than a ‘gay hero’.

“Who?”  I asked.  “Which gay hero?”

His brow furrowed.  He’ll get back to me with the answer.

Then it occurred to me why a bunch of boys under the age of 25 drinking free booze in the house of an older Hollywood oligarch might not like the film Liberace.  Rather than not seeing themselves… on the contrary, they all saw themselves exactly and hated what they saw.

Like on Facebook the ugly truth is sometimes sandwiched between the glitter and sangria.

No matter how deeply it is buried.

Vivienne Westwood wears Bradley Manning

So, I’ve been spending time on Christian Mingle.

Looking for God’s match for me. Well, I’m sorry but… it’s shit.

God (not my usual God) made it quite clear to me whilst I was scrolling obsessively through acres of men who look like pedophiliac geography teachers… he made it perfectly clear that a life of abstinent solitude was probably on the cards or (if I was really lucky) being violently murdered by a crazy sex therapist or… luckier… a hit man sent by some crazier ex.

Which brings me illogically to:

Bradley Manning. My hero. What can I say? This courageous young man has revealed not only international truths triggering the Arab Spring and a hasty retreat from Iraq by the USA… but the truth about American, white gay men.

Fuck me. What a bunch of crazy, right-wing cock suckers.

I mean… these gay white guys are voting Democrat, so they get their miserable marriage equality then… as soon as they do… they’ll jump ship and vote Republican… if they aren’t already.

Gay White Men won’t feel like they are part of any minority once they achieve parity with their straight white male colleagues.

Powerful white men famously loathe sharing the stage with immigrants, brown people, poor people, ugly people, fat people, trans… and women. Fuck them. Especially women. Their natural enemy.

‘They don’t mesh with MY lifestyle.’ he said.  Yes, he really said that.

It fills me full of dread to imagine a world run by gay white men. But apparently, according to Elton John. It already is.

So Bradley, I had to draw a line in the sand.

It’s Anderson Cooper, Elton John, David Geffen, the HRC and any guests at a typical Hollywood pool party over there… and it’s me you and the brown people over here.

Bradley, in the USA the gays want to ignore you, demonize you, forget you.

The rest of the world thinks about you every day, rotting in that jail. They agree with me. They think you’re the bees knees.

Bradley, you won’t believe this but, yesterday Vivienne Westwood wore a laminated photograph of you pinned to her lilac, silk gown at the Metropolitan Fashion Ball.

Perhaps the gays might take you more seriously now?

I doubt it.

I’m really sorry that our community has let you down.

Apparently what you did… isn’t gay enough.

“What does Bradley Manning and his treason have to do with being gay?” That’s what they say Bradley.

You just ain’t the right flavor. And, of course, they (elite gay snobs) know you only joined the military in the first place to get a free education.

You ended up educating the whole world.

“You should have known better. You shouldn’t have broken the rules.”

That’s what the rich, white, gay men say.

Just Like You

Bradley, they were going to include you in the 2013 San Francisco Pride event. Did you hear about that? They were going to honour you.

But they lost their nerve after the rich, white gays persuaded the poor, black lesbian who runs the event that you were just a common thief.

There are well researched articles about you and what happened at San Francisco Pride. Bradley’s inclusion and outrageous exclusion.

After it happened I had to defriend over 250 affluent gay white men on Facebook. Yes, I did.

I felt like a Jew waking up out of a blackout at the Nazi Christmas party. Or a Muslim at the NRA National Convention. Or a Christian in the back room of a gay bar.

I had to make a big decision. I had to weigh up: the differences versus the similarities and… the similarities between me and the gays were negligible.

I had to redefine myself.

Bradley, for you… I am not gay.

I will have nothing more to do with them. Because of you.

Thanks for that Bradley. I owe you a club soda some time.

But, that’s only half the story.  I’ve been feeling very uncomfortable in my gay skin for a very long time.

It all began with that smile he gave me in the family court waiting area 3 years ago. He was with his dad.

That arrogant grin. You see… he thought he’d won the war.

Americans always think they have to win.

It was shocking because, until that moment, I’d only ever seen his ersatz humility. I did not recognize him any more.

But, I knew the smile. I’d seen it before… on the entitled faces of rich, white gay men.

Oh God. I thought. That’s who you are. That’s what you’ve been hiding.

The pain I felt around the gays. The revulsion I felt at the gay charity events, gay AA, gay white men, gays en masse.

The smell of them began to make me nauseous.

Perhaps, I thought, it might just be self hate? Internalized homophobia?

Just like I thought my gall stones were indigestion… it was the wrong self-diagnosis.

I am surrounded by millions of gay zombies.  In the perpetual search for fresh meat.

Zombies forcing other gays, gays with unnatural ideas to think like them.

Bradley, President Obama is on the TV right now… warming up his audience with a few self-deprecating quips.

The gays love him. They don’t care if they’re being used to shield what’s really going on.

Hey America! Look at this dancing gay who wants to get married… look… over here! Look over here whilst we torture these Muslims and spray the world with bee killing Round-Up.

If you ever get out of that prison… you’ll find a very different gay America. Oh yes.

But don’t expect a heroes welcome from the gays. It ain’t happening.

Don’t expect a GLAAD award.

Their ‘heroes’ are prescribed by good looking GLAAD president Herndon Graddick and his ilk. Heroes? A GLAAD ‘hero’ is anyone who comes out of the closet or a celebrity who says publicly that they like gay people.

Herndon Graddick?  Consider the source.

You know what, Bradley? The last time I saw Herndon (fascist star-fucker) he was sobbing in a gay AA meeting because he can’t stop doing meth.

The time before that I saw Herndon he was at gay traitor Ken Mehlman’s drinks party with his forked tongue shoved so far up Ken’s ass what he pulled out was scarcely chewed.

Bradley, you were very brave.

Most of the gays I know in LA and NYC are the kind of men who stayed close to the teacher at school because they lived in fear.

Fear has shaped their lives.

They are scared of you.  They used to be scared of radical homosexual Peter Tatchell.  Before Elton brought him in from the cold.

Bradley, you didn’t come from an affluent family, you’re not a great looker. You might not even be a man… that’s what they say.

But who ever you are, you are my hero. You made me rethink, reshape my life. Redefine myself as queer rather than gay… and I thank you for that… again. Because without you… things might have remained confusing for me.

But now… they’re not.

The story of S.F. Pride versus Bradley Manning and S.F. Pride versus the activist community of San Francisco is an ugly one that illumines the maggoty underside of assimilationist politics and policies. In the quest for straight acceptance that has propelled the LGBT community headlong into the arms of two of the most historically repressive institutions, marriage and the military, dissent has become anathema. The values of ads that used to pepper the personals in queer newspapers and magazines “seeking straight-looking, straight-acting, no fats, no fems” have become internalized within the community. The controversy over Manning highlights what has happened in the juggernaut move toward equality — there’s no room for outliers. Either you are a Lisa Williams-style straight-acting, straight-looking martinet with no temper for dissent or you are like the people who signed the complaint — activists all — who recognize that our queer story is not going to be told simply through marriage equality and being able to enlist openly in the military. Marriage and military equality are important, but they aren’t our only issues. Manning took the actions he did because of his outrage over DADT, which was still in effect throughout his deployment. But he also acted like so many patriots have over our nation’s history — out of loyalty to American democracy. Manning thought the government was lying to the people. So he told them the truth.

VICTORIA A. BROWNWORTH is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist who has won the NLGJA and Society of Professional Journalists Awards for her series on LGBT issues. She is the author and editor of more than 30 books, including the award-winning Too Queer: Essays From a Radical Life. She lives in Philadelphia. Find her on Twitter at @VABOX.

Little Dog

Meeting you once.  That was enough.  I don’t need any more chaos in my life.  That’s what a moment with you was.  Whoever you are.  Was that your real name?  Did I tell you my real name.  Isn’t that the point?  

A community of liars, reinventing themselves for a wet, dark moment under the covers.

That’s what they don’t want you to know.  So many lies they tell.  They want you to believe we just are like you.  We are just like you behind the elegant front door.

The bronze gargoyle.

No women to temper our worst excesses.

Dawn.

Again.

Those yellow, silk satin curtains were bought for me by Jean Paul Gaultier on Nothing Hill the day after the IRA blew up the City of London. They are pretty threadbare at the edges.

I don’t care.

He picked me up at the Market Tavern in Vauxhall.  He sent the bar man over with a pint.  Paid for.  Caught my attention.  I had no intention of kissing him.  Making love to him.  Instead I took him to the crater in the City of London where the Irish Republican Army had blown up the streets.

We took a cab to Notting Hill and bought those yellow silk curtains.

Certain that no one would believe the story.  Still very drunk.  A pall over my forehead.  We sat in Tim’s kitchen so I could, at a later date, prove that we had been there.  I sat my god daughter on my lap.  My jeans must have stunk of beer and cigarettes and sweat.

I think he was probably into fisting.

I can feel it. You are falling in love with me but I’m not interested. I can’t pretend.  I can’t love you back.   You may as well back away from the beloved.  As you know, there’s a viper beneath the skin. Your weakness disgusts me. Those eyes looking up at me expecting so much more. Those big brown eyes offending me. I imagine pushing you down the stairs.

Lawyers, lovers, movers, electricians, renters, plumbers, real estate agents, judges, baristas.

Visitors:  from England.  My home town.  I think you forget that my home town will always be there.  Always.  The softer landing.  Regardless what you do to me.  What you take from me.  How you silence me.  The months are passing quickly.

If you send me home.  My mouth is wide open.  A siren.  From Whitstable.

Oh, Whitstable.   I am coming home.

Leaving behind these savages.  I would rather face my demons there.

Savages, blowing up there own people.  Blaming the boys.  The muslim boys.  Demonizing islam.

It’s a drill… wait… no it’s not. There is a third bomb… wait no there isn’t. We’re looking for a dark skinned man… wait… actually two white ones. We need help identifying them… wait we’ve had one of them on a list for years and we know where he lives. Ok, we found them but we killed one… no wait his brother killed him… wait… no he didn’t. We captured the other one after a firefight but he shot himself… wait… he didn’t have a gun.

Savages, without opera.  Savages, white and clean.  Chained to their guns and their christianity.  The lies they tell:  the deficit.  The heroes they claim.  The heroes they abandon.

The gays are picking out their black shirts, their golden hair and musculature.

Being in jail radicalized me.  Hanging with the Trans hookers. No longer gay.  This queer, with other queers.  Behind the women and men of colour, of indeterminate physicality.  Liberty leading the people.

There is so much outraged.  Outrage!  A line has to be drawn.  Robby, my darling ally.  Now he is Dustin Lance Black‘s boyfriend, well… he had to be jettisoned.   The trophy boyfriend.

I really loved him.  Like a son.

There he is with the gays (black and white) at the White House.  Looking uncomfortable.  His hair slicked back.  His beautiful flaxen hair.

Meanwhile his ‘husband’ Lance Black, is a grand marshall/special guest star/nazi youth at San Francisco Pride.  The same organisation that abandoned Bradley Manning last week.  Turned their back on a world hero in favor of an illusionist.

Lance is a man who writes about history rather than participates in it.

A bunch of Iraq gay vets (murderers/terrorists) took it upon themselves to complain and the corporate Pride org buckled.

It was a sad day.  A terrible, sad day.

One day films will be made about Bradley Manning and we will wonder, with a degree of homo incredulity, how Lance Black and the organizers of SanFrancisco Pride found themselves on the wrong side of history.

Hairless, blond Lance with his hairless, limp, blond husband.

So the argument rages.  Is Bradley manning a hero?  It seems that if he is… not many gay people agree. He broke the law they caw!

Well, did he?  Whistle blowing (as it turns out) is an honorable, protected act.

Executive Order 13526, Section 1.7 pertaining to Classifications Prohibitions and Limitations clearly states that:

In no case shall information be classified… in order to: conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency… or prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security.

Thus, what Bradley Manning did when he disclosed cables that revealed extreme corruption and major breaches of diplomatic goodwill was, in fact, quite honorable, and he deserves protection under the Whistleblower Protection Act.

My friend Robby is part of a homosexual elite.  Able to shape and destroy lives.

The bitter and resentful gays turning on their own.  They daren’t turn on straight people.  Why? They still want to be straight.

Meanwhile a black man comes out and the gay, white elite are thrilled.  It’s embarrassing that they have no black friends.  It’s embarrassing that they have no black friends on Facebook.

Thank God!  A black man, playing basket ball.  He’s making it seem so comfortable.

Fuck HRC.  Fuck GLAAD.

I am understanding now.  Who those gays are.  They never wanted to put up their hand and tell the world they were different.  I did.  They wanted to be teachers pet.  I didn’t.  They wanted to be perfect.  Nope, not me.

Their only act of bravery is telling the world they are gay.

Astonishing. These absurd gay men screaming about how Bradley Manning broke the law. We who were born criminals… born gay, who every time we kissed or made love also broke the law. Would you have suggested abstinence until the laws magically changed? Did we deserve to go to jail for being gay, after all… we knew the consequences? Who do you think broke the law on your behalf to fight police and break windows at Stonewall? Sadly. it turns out, not many gay men. They were hiding in the back of the bar whilst the trannies broke the law. The gays are still hiding in the back of the bar whilst honorable men like Bradley Manning fight important battles against iniquity and injustice. By dissing Manning you merely collude with, support the illegal actions of the US military. Make your choice, but remember those of us who fought on your behalf once upon a time did so without regard for the law. Bradley Manning may or may not have broken laws. Without doubt, his actions helped liberate millions and hastened a US military withdrawal from Iraq. You must honor him.

Let’s face it.  It wasn’t gay men fighting the police and breaking windows the day Judy died.  The gays were hiding in the back of the bar or running away.  Terrified of breaking the law.  Terrified.  They are still hiding in the back of the bar whilst others do their fighting for them.

One day, there will be men owning up to not wanting to be gay, staying in the closet because… they will say… ‘I’m not like that… look at what the gays have become…’

This week I purged myself of white, elite gay ‘friends’ on Facebook and I wished I knew… what I could do next.

For more about how we are evolving… read this: Steven W. Thrasher’s great piece in Gawker today.

Republican Jesus

1.

Election night 2012.

As my gay friends, blindly devoted to President Obama, danced with joy at the news that gay marriage was being approved by popular vote in three states… the first of its kind, that an ‘out’ lesbian had been elected to the US senate and that ‘their guy’ was going back to the White House… I shifted uncomfortably in my bed.

 In May, after years of unconvincingly claiming that his (Obama’s)  view on gay marriage was “evolving”, it miraculously matured five months before an election as support from gay and lesbian voters and young people – who are far more likely to support marriage equality – appeared to be softening.  A month later he halted the deportation of thousands of young undocumented immigrants with an executive order.

He could have done either one at any time.

The Guardian

As the results came in I watched my Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr feeds explode.

Lance Black told us that he was crying so hard with gratitude for the people of Maine, so blinded by tears he could scarcely post his thanks on Facebook.

“Thank you,  thank you, thank you.”  he wept.

I kept thinking:  Republicans want your money, Democrats want your hope.  What’s worse?

All night I knew that I was witnessing something sickeningly dishonest, as ersatz as the twin towers crumbling seem to conspiracy theorists.

I wondered again and again about the relative values of my gay brethren.

You see,  I couldn’t stop thinking about just one gay man.

I was plagued with the young face of Bradley Manning who presently sits in jail, a victim of Obama’s rarely mentioned dark side.

Since July 2010 he has been kept naked and  in solitary confinement.  According to his family he is going slowly insane.

Manning, you may remember, had blown the whistle on American war crimes in Iraq.  He posted videos, unleashed a  torrent of classified information to Wikileaks… his fury knew no bounds.

He had every reason to be angry.   He related to the wholesale cruelty and injustice being perpetrated on the Iraqi people.

Manning’s had a crippling history of emotional abuse, neglect, bullying and abandonment .

As a teenager he was taken to the UK by his British mother.  At school in Wales he became the target of bullying because he was the only American. The students would imitate his accent, and they apparently abandoned him once during a camping trip. His aunt told The Washington Post: “He woke up, and all the tents around him were gone. They left while he was sleeping.” He was also targeted for being effeminate.

As an adult he had one of two choices, he could take it out on himself like so many gay men and kill himself… or he could take it out on those who gave him the most pain.

He was rightly furious at how he was being personally treated by the military… facing his own demons as well as the worlds.

Every day he bore witness to atrocities against the Iraqi people, (the very people he was apparently trying to protect) and the atrocity of institutionalized homophobia.

Some soldiers, driven mad by war,  punish Iraqis.  A soldier walks into a village on his own and kills innocent men, women and children.   Some take it out on each other, a soldier rapes or damages or kills a colleague.  We know these stories.  They are legion.

Bradley Manning knew the truth had to be revealed.

The material he disseminated included videos of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan; 250,000 United States diplomatic cables; and 500,000 army reports that came to be known as the Iraq War logs and Afghan War logs.

It was the largest set of restricted documents ever leaked to the public.

The Wikipedia page for Manning has a great deal of unsubstantiated detail describing his ‘true nature’,  over turning tables, punching women in the face, carving words into a chair. 

Meanwhile, the heteronormative lesbian (Tammy Baldwin), looking like Laura Bush in her puce, slubbed silk jacket was on her way to the Senate. Hailed by the gays (even the ones who have no lesbian or even women friends) as the great Sappho answer to the LGBT political conundrum, applauding as she goes down on the neo-liberal pussy… rainbow bunting festoons her office.

Is Tammy Baldwin our LGBT hero?  Will the people of Maine win a GLAAD award like the people of Europe won the Nobel Peace Prize?

Bradley Manning is a true hero, a gay hero, a young man of conscience… yet he has been all but abandoned by the gay community.

Where are his GLAAD awards?  His rainbow bunting?  His gay applause?

Don’t weep for the people of Maine for voting on something that shouldn’t even have been on the ballot.  Weep for Bradley Manning who sits in a cell today for showing all of you the crimes being committed in your name.

2.

According to the New York Times, preparing President Obama for his first Presidential debate against Mitt Romney proved an impossible task for even his most trusted advisors.

David Axelrod, a senior strategist, told a surly Mr. Obama that he seemed distracted, but the President shrugged him off. “I’ll be there on game day,” he said. “I’m a game day player.”

As it turned out the President was not a ‘game day player’, famously caught off guard by Romney’s meticulous  debate preparation he crashed and burned leaving many of his most ardent supporters wondering why they were supporting him at all.

There’s something horribly revealing about this story.  It betrays exactly who Barack Obama is.

Aloof, dismissive and far more confident in his own ability than he should be.

For those who have performed on stage can confirm, no amount of rehearsal is long enough for any performance.   The dress rehearsal is imperative, it is at the dress rehearsal where all catastrophic mistakes will be made, never to be made again.

To have no rehearsal, no dress rehearsal, to stand on stage without any rehearsal whatsoever is arrogant at best, monumentally dumb at worst.

Arrogance may be Obama’s defining character defect.  More details reveal the President to be an even less sympathetic character.

Two startling facts:

He has never entertained either President Carter nor Clinton at the White House and complains frequently about being under valued.

“Stories abound of big donors who stopped giving as much or working as hard because Obama never reached out, either with a Clinton-esque warm bath of attention or Romney-esque weekend love fests and Israeli-style jaunts; of celebrities who gave concerts for his campaigns and never received thank-you notes or even his full attention during the performance; of public servants upset because they knocked themselves out at the president’s request and never got a pat on the back.”

There is an obvious lack of sophistication about the first couple that no amount of Jason Woo, Simon Doonan table settings or fancy interior decoration will ever mask.

Obama’s arrogance, his ego maniacal obsession with his own success would be worth something if he had some huge scheme, some Housman type plan, some Churchillian grandiosity, some Napoleonic zeal but all his arrogance boils down to… well, a miserable compromise.

Many liberals were annoyed during the first Obama term that Bush-era strong-arm tactics (including the ubiquitous executive order) were not used…  even as the President was bullied relentlessly by house Republicans after he lost control of Congress.

After the ‘shellacking’ he continue his obsequious placating of the far right of the Republican party.  Rather than insist on defending his oft lauded centrist position he crawled ignominiously further right to placate his foes.

The most annoying leitmotif of President Obama’s last four years, a recurring theme… must be his constant reference to himself as The President because if he didn’t remind you who he was… you might forget.

“I’m the president.” he tells anyone who will listen. “I’m the President!” he smiles, like JayZ might tell you he had sold more tracks on iTunes than any other artist since the Beatles.

And if that sounds vaguely racist, I remind you again what Don Lemons told me about The President, “Obama is the kind of black man who looks scared of white people.”

There’s something to be said for this analysis.

Not wanting to prepare for the Presidential debate reveals Obama’s fear of the very men the rest of us want to see him stand up against: The Good ol’ Boys.

The very same men who are at this moment witnessing the end of their white America, the very same white men who could not believe America would elect a black President twice.

The man they had humiliated with obstructionist politics, like tripping the nigger on the side-walk… just because they could.

His fear of white people coupled with the pitiful jokes, the self-deprecating bon mot.

“I was too polite.” he offered up after the first debate.

It caused radical friends to throw up their hands in fury.

Barry Obama, against all the Republican odds, is President re-elect.   It is up to him to start taking those who elected him seriously and not for granted. It is up to us to drag this  weedy President firmly into the 21st Century.

Americans, it seems, are baying for a modern America.

The cabal of white (Republican looking) social engineers who stand behind Obama (Tim Geithner et al) , using their half-black, amiable front man as a shield behind which they steal the money…. well, they need to wake up.

There are too many vocal opponents to the wholesale compromise that defined Obama’s first term.

Those who supported Obama the second time around are delivering a firm rebuke.  They want stuff.

The white men who have been controlling Obama, offering false hope to the Latinos and the gays to motivate their base… have opened Pandora’s box… yet the evil in the box seems poisonous only to the Republicans… for the rest of us it is the liberal air we breath.

3.

A Gay Poem

by Duncan Roy 2012

Don’t let climate change ruin your gay wedding.

Don’t let staff shortages due to deportation destroy your special day.

Try not to think about drone attacks on foreign shores.

Concentrate on the $160k baby you can’t really afford, grown in the woman whose name will never be known to the unborn child.

You’re spending your bonus money on Botox and patching your 25 years old lined forehead with restylane.

Thank God you’re marrying a fellow american or ICE officers might be your groomsman.

Thank God you can get married, you’ll never be turned away from the hospital as your husband lies dying of a meth overdose.

They found him in the sauna, multiply penetrated, cream pied, still dripping, swaying gently in a sling still wearing his military boots…

on your honeymoon in the leather bars of Berlin.

4.

On 29 May, Private Bradley Manning will have been held in USmilitary detention without trial for one year. A 23 year old openly gay man, he faces a battery of charges, including “aiding the enemy” – a crime punishable by execution under US law.Manning’s crime? It is alleged that he blew the whistle on war crimes and cover ups by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. If this is true, the man is a hero. He is a defender of democracy and human rights. His actions are based on the principle that citizens have a right to know what the government is doing in their name. Bradley should not be in prison. The charges against him should be dropped. Set him free. Instead, put on trial those who killed innocent civilians and those who protected the perpetrators.

Bradley Manning is a true patriot, not a traitor. He reveres the founding ideals of the US – an open, honest government accountable to the people, which pursues its policies by lawful means that respect human rights. At great personal risk, he sought to expose grave crimes that were perpetrated and then hidden by the US government and military. These are the characteristics of a man of conscience, motivated by altruism. Any misjudgements he made in the alleged release of certain documents are fair outweighed by the positive good overall. Thanks to Manning, we, the people, know the truth.

One aspect of Bradley Manning’s commitment to human rights is his active support for LGBT equality. He has participated in Gay Pride marches and campaigned against the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ restrictions on US gay military personnel. In 2008, he attended a rally in New York to oppose attempts to ban same-sex marriage in California.

For nearly a year, Manning was imprisoned in harsh, inhuman conditions at Quantico marine corps base in Virginia. He was subjected to long periods of solitary confinement and many extreme deprivations, which amounted to pre-conviction punishment. After worldwide protests, he was recently transferred to a standard medium security military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where his treatment has significantly improved.

Manning is being held on the as yet unproven allegation that he leaked classified US military and diplomatic documents that were subsequently released by Wikileaks. These documents exposed US war crimes, as well as US foreign policy dishonesty and duplicity.

A senior United Nations representative on torture, Juan Mendez, reprimanded the US government in April 2011 for not allowing him to meet Bradley Manning in private and in confidence. This is the kind of censure the UN normally reserves for authoritarian regimes: http://tiny.cc/nq3mq

Mendez, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said: “I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regard to my attempts to visit Mr Manning.”

My friend US congressman Dennis Kucinich and a representative from Amnesty International were likewise refused permission to visit Manning.

Also in April, more than 250 of America’s most eminent legal scholars signed a letter protesting against the mistreatment of Manning during the nine months he was detained in Quantico military brig, arguing that his “degrading and inhumane conditions” were illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture: http://tiny.cc/bs95c

The open letter by these scholars states:

“For nine months, Manning has been confined to his cell for twenty-three hours a day. During his one remaining hour, he can walk in circles in another room, with no other prisoners present. He is not allowed to doze off or relax during the day, but must answer the question “Are you OK?” verbally and in the affirmative every five minutes. At night, he is awakened to be asked again “Are you OK?” every time he turns his back to the cell door or covers his head with a blanket so that the guards cannot see his face. During the past week he was forced to sleep naked and stand naked for inspection in front of his cell, and for the indefinite future must remove his clothes and wear a “smock” under claims of risk to himself that he disputes.”

The letter goes on to question the US government’s motives for detaining Manning:

“The administration has provided no evidence that Manning’s treatment reflects a concern for his own safety or that of other inmates. Unless and until it does so, there is only one reasonable inference: this pattern of degrading treatment aims either to deter future whistleblowers, or to force Manning to implicate Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a conspiracy, or both.”

The list of scholars who signed the letter included Barack Obama’s own constitutional law professor, Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America’s foremost liberal authority on constitutional law.  He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.

You can read this Guardian report about the mistreatment Manning suffered at Quantico: http://tiny.cc/junb2

In summary, the Guardian report states that was being kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, in a windowless room 12′ x 6′, and shackled hand and foot when he was transferred to a room where was allowed only to walk around in a circle. He was fed a daily diet of antidepressant pills which disoriented him, forced to stand naked, forbidden to exercise in his cell, and woken if he attempted to sleep in the daytime. Manning was continually subject to what is called “maximum custody”, and also to a so-called “prevention of injury” order, which among other things, deprived him of his clothes at night and also of normal sheets and bedding in favour of a blanket he describes as being like the lead apron used when operating x-ray machines. He was allowed no personal possessions.

This abuse of Manning constitutes illegal “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment”, contrary to the UN Convention Against Torture and the 8th Amendment to the US constitution. It has been condemned by many civil liberties and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International: http://tiny.cc/7sr4w

The International Criminal Court should commence legal proceedings against the head of the US government and military commander-in-chief, President Obama.  He bears direct personal and legal responsibility for the mistreatment of Manning. He knew about it, publicly endorsed it and did nothing to stop it.

The transfer of Manning from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth – and the subsequent significant improvement in the conditions under which he is being detained – occurred just days after the legal scholar’s letter was publicised, and appeared designed to preempt plans by Manning’s lawyers to mount a legal challenge to the harsh conditions of his detention at Quantico. It also followed an online petition by avaaz.org which gathered half a million signatures in one week in early April.

Private Manning, a US military intelligence analyst, was arrested in Iraq following the release by Wikileaks of video footage of a US Apache helicopter attack that gunned down 11 Iraqi civilians in 2007, including two Reuters journalists and men who had gone to the aid of the wounded. Two children were also gravely injured when the US helicopter opened fire on their van. The video records US soldiers laughing and joking at the killings, and also insulting the victims.

The video of the massacre can be seen at: www.collateralmurder.com

This slaughter had previously been the subject of a cover-up by the US armed forces, which claimed dishonestly that the helicopter had been engaged in combat operations against armed enemy forces.

It is only (allegedly) thanks to Bradley Manning that we now know the truth about this slaughter of innocent civilians – and about the killings of hundreds of other civilians in unreported and undocumented incidents.

Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, which exposed US lies and criminality in Vietnam, has hailed Manning as a hero.

Manning is a humanist and a man with a conscience. When he discovered human rights violations by the US armed forces and duplicity by the US government, he was shocked and distressed. He became disillusioned with his country’s foreign and military policy; believing it was betraying the US ideals of democracy and human rights.

The abuse that first triggered Manning’s disillusionment was when he was posted to Iraq in October 2009 as an intelligence analyst. He was shocked to discover US military collusion with the repression of dissent in Iraq; in particular “watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police….for printing ‘anti-Iraqi’ literature.” The offending literature exposed corruption in the US-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. When he complained that US forces should not be assisting with the suppression of free speech and peaceful protest, he was told to shut up and that the US armed forces in Iraq should be doing more to silence opponents of the Maliki regime.

Manning is a US citizen but also a British citizen via his Welsh mother. Since he has been in detention, he has received no British consular support. Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg have failed to help him. They have never spoken publicly against his maltreatment or, as far as we know, made any private appeals to the US government and military to halt the abuse that Manning suffered at Quantico. So much for the coalition’s professed commitment to human rights and civil liberties.

Manning’s mother requested assistance from UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to ensure a British consular visit to her son. This request has been ignored: http://tiny.cc/4e732

TAKE ACTION – What you can do:

1.    Write to Bradley Manning. Send him your support: PFC Bradley Manning 89289. Fort Leavenworth Military Detention Centre, 830 Sabalu Road, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, KS 66027, USA. 

2.    Sign the petition in support of Bradley Manning: www.bradleymanning.org 

3.    Ask your MP and MEPs to urge the British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary to ensure a British consular visit to Bradley Manning, and to press the US government to drop all charges and release him. You can email your MP and MEPs direct via this website: www.writetothem.com 

4.    Phone or write to the US Embassy in London – 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE – 0207 499 9000

5.    Write to President Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC20500, USA

6.    Please tweet this message: 

If Bradley Manning blew the whistle on US war crimes, he’s a hero. Free him. Sign the petition: www.bradleymanning.org  #bradleymanning

 

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