My name is Martin MacKerel and I am a straight ally. [some remarks about the anger in the room and remembering the pastor’s words about respecting each others’ humanity]
When I say I’m an ally, I don’t just mean that I think gay rights are cool and I have some friends who are LGBT. I have played for several years in a pool league that “just happens to be gay” and met many people and that’s when these issues became important to me. I campaigned against Prop 8, and after it passed I joined a local grassroots group called “One Struggle One Fight” to fight against it, and as part of that I went to DC for the 2009 National Equality March.
I’m also a Bradley Manning supporter since I learned about his situation two and a half years ago. You may ask why? Is there a link? And, yes, there is a simple link in that these are both about justice.
But I think there is a deeper link. Both the process of coming out and Bradley’s actions involve speaking truths that might make people uncomfortable. Many people might initially not want to know that a family member or friend is queer. But hopefully in coming out, attitudes are shifted, and both the speaker and the listener are transformed.
I know that lots of people would prefer to believe that the government is on their side, that its military doesn’t commit war crimes, and that its foreign policy comes from good intentions.
Bradley showed us, as Daniel Ellsberg did, that these comforting notions are not true. I see the reaction to Bradley Manning’s selection as Grand Marshal as part of a prolonged attempt not to face the truth. But sooner or later, and the sooner the better, we must face the truth.
To deny Bradley – to shove him and his uncomfortable truths back in the closet – is to fail in our responsibility as a community.