One of the signature traits of LGBT subculture in the United States is its adoration of celebrity. If a well-known person voices the most milk-toast notion that gays are human beings, let alone deserving of legal equality, banner headlines in the gay press are guaranteed. If the celebrity comes out as gay, even more effusive coverage is given.
Any number of fading stars and starlets, and non-entities on the make, from Lady Gaga to Chaz Bono to Ricky Martin, have mined the LGBT community to support their careers. Our community’s eager rush to embrace just about any celebrity who deigns to notice our existence is emblematic of our lack of self-esteem, our internalized homophobia.
So why is it that all of the big gay non-profits, from the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – “Gay Inc.” – have failed to utter a word of support for Private Bradley Manning, let alone really campaign for him?
He’s gay, has moderately high name recognition, and unlike any number of air-head celebrities, he’s actually done something to support social justice, rather than mined charitable causes for personal fame and fortune.
Manning’s contributions to human rights have been recounted frequently enough to require only a brief recitation here. He exposed U.S. war crimes in Iraq    and Afghanistan. His exposure of the corruption of the oligarchy in Tunisia helped kick off the ‘Arab Spring,’ toppling U.S.-supported dictators around the region. Continue reading