After reading Glenn Greenwald’s book “No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State” I am astounded once again that neither Glenn Greenwald nor Chelsea Manning have been written about in the gay and gay-ish media with the import and perspective they deserve.
David Miranda and Glenn Greenwald
Bradley Manning/Chelsea Manning
Arguably, these two people–this one gay man and this one trans woman–have been at the moral center of international secrecy and disclosure in the last year or two, yet hardly a peep from those of our institutions (the Gay Centers, the Parade Groups, the political and fundraising groups) when it comes time to lionize and defend our own.
I took a cursory look at who we (the gay community in the U.S.) have honored at galas, parades and whatnot in the last year or so, and I came across people like Jennifer Lopez, Bill Clinton, Anderson Cooper, Norman Lear . . . not to say that these folks are not deserving of awards, I’m sure they are, but there’s only one gay person among those names above and I’m not sure any of them, including Clinton, have done anything near the importance of what Manning (especially) and Greenwald have done.
Basically Chelsea Manning gave up her freedom — what would have otherwise been likely as a nice, normal life by exposing American crimes in Iraq. Greenwald used his profession as a journalist to expose the unbelievably massive and likely unconstitutional spying/surveillance program of the USA’s NSA (though the disclosures of Edward Snowden) greatly putting himself and his partner David Miranda at risk. (As far as I know, Glenn Greenwald still lives in Brazil and will not come to the U.S. because of the possibility/probability of detainment, even though he is an American citizen.)
What they have done, or helped to do, is very much in the tradition of LGBT people throughout history — we’ve often served as shamans, seers, philosophers, as well as teachers, magicians, composers artists and writers. Since we were almost always not part of the mainstream, we took that distance and reflected something back to society at large. I see that Manning and Greenwald are very much in this tradition.
Is the fact that we can’t see and honor this because we’re in the middle of history as it’s happening and don’t have perspective?
Or is it something else, as in, don’t rock the boat, people. They just gave us marriage, after all. A couple of years before that, they gave us the right to be open in the military. Hard fought gains, to be sure.
Don’t rock that boat.
But what Manning did and what Greenwald has played a decisive role in reporting on has an extremely far-reaching impact in the very fiber of our beings as well as the national psyche.
Are we embarrassed because Chelsea’s transgenderism shines a light where we’d rather not have it go? Do we not want to say we support Greenwald because then it pits us as also opposed to the NSA, perhaps the most insidious organization of our government? I’m not quite sure what the reasons are, but these are revolutionary actions by our own. Why aren’t we owning them? Honestly, what’s happened to our in-your-face-culture since the days of ACT UP, and before that, Harvey Milk and Stonewall?
Here is the one story I did see. And this one, I presume from the tone, written by a straight ally.
Link to my previous post on Chelsea Manning.