OBAMA COMMUTES MANNING’S SENTENCE
President Obama commuted the sentence of former Army soldier Chelsea Manning this week.
Known as Bradley when she joined the Army, Manning was serving a 35-year sentence for stealing and leaking thousands of pages of documents revealing U.S. military and diplomatic secrets through WikiLeaks in 2010.
She is scheduled to be released May 17.
Manning, who declared she was transgender after her sentencing, attempted suicide twice last year while serving time in the men’s military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, according to the New York Times. She has been incarcerated for nearly seven years altogether in a Department of Defense institution that has no experience providing care for transgender prisoners.
Manning worked as a lower-tier intelligence analyst upon arrival with her Army unit in Iraq in 2009. The Times reported that she was tasked with helping assess insurgent activity in her unit’s area of operations and this responsibility gave her access to classified information.
She copied military incident logs from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, diplomatic cables, as well as other classified files. She said she chose to make the files public in hopes it would encourage “worldwide discussion, debates and reforms,” according to the New York Times.
The public release of the stolen documents caused the Obama administration to quickly attempt to lessen international and diplomatic harm, as well as safely remove some foreigners who were identified as having helped the U.S. military or its diplomats.
Manning confessed to her actions and apologized during her court martial.
Due in part to a lawsuit on Manning’s behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Times reported, the military allowed her to partially transition; giving her hormones and allowing her to wear female under garments and some makeup.
However, she is not allowed to grow her hair beyond military length, and has not yet been allowed to see a surgeon about sex reassignment surgery. The military’s policy was to discharge transgender personnel until it reversed course in June 2016, when the policy was changed to provide treatment, including surgery, if doctors deem it necessary.
MOOD SWINGS PREVIEW ‘BROADWAY NOW’
The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (SDGMC) will present the Mood Swings at Martinis Above Fourth on Feb. 9 starting at 8 p.m.
The event will include the ensemble’s greatest hits from its performances at Balboa Theatre and a preview of the upcoming “Broadway Now” show, as well as new music from the Mood Swings. Tickets start at $25. All proceeds benefit SDGMC.
While the last two SDGMC shows at Balboa Theatre in December were sold out, fans can get tickets now for the upcoming April 22 and 23 “Broadway Now” performances. Enjoy favorite songs from new musicals like “Wicked,” “Hairspray,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Chicago,” “Jersey Boys” and “The Lion King.”
The production will include tributes to Tony Award-winning “Kinky Boots,” “Avenue Q,” “The Producers” and “Spamalot.” Highlights will also include the timeless “Mary Poppins,” “South Pacific” and “The Color Purple.”
For more information and tickets to all SDGMC performances, visit sdgmc.org.
RECOVERY RIDE SET FOR JAN. 29
Registration remains open for riders and teams to participate in the Recovery Ride, slated for Sunday, Jan. 29, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Swiss Park, 2001 Main St., Chula Vista.
Those wishing to participate may register as an individual, register a team or join a team already registered for the event. The ride offers three routes: 12 miles, 25 miles and 40 miles.
Benefitting Stepping Stone of San Diego and the San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative, the purpose of the ride is to connect those who love cycling with their commitment to giving back to nonprofits and causes in the San Diego region, specifically targeting organizations whose focus is recovery from alcohol and drugs, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
A “Day Zero” event is planned for Jan. 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Stepping Stone residential treatment center, 3767 Central Ave. in San Diego, to permit riders to pick up registration packets and see the work being done. The public is welcome and light snacks will be served. Riders may also pick up packets the morning of the ride.
Event day registration the following day opens at 7 a.m. with a warm-up at 8:15 a.m.
The first riders, those participating in the 40-mile route, will start on their ride at 8:30 a.m., followed shortly by the other groups.
Start and finish festivals will be held at Swiss Park. For more information, and to register online, visit bit.ly/2k4Ocz0.
IC CORONATION WEEKEND ARRIVES FEB. 3
Emperor and Empress XLV de San Diego will be elected and crowned in a ceremony celebrating Imperial Court de San Diego’s 45th anniversary, on Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. at the Handlery Hotel, 950 Hotel Circle North.
Hosted by reigning monarchs Emperor Summer Lee and Empress Jaeda Reign Saunders Too, the coronation will highlight a weekend of Coronation XLV events, which run Feb. 3-5.
Imperial courts from throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico will be in attendance. Members of the International Imperial Court Council will hold a meeting in San Diego on Feb. 4.
The Imperial Court System, described as the “gay Shriners or Elks,” was founded in 1965. There are now Imperial Court chapters in more than 68 cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Local activist Nicole Murray Ramirez is the Queen Mother of the International Imperial Court System and will preside over the coronation.
The first emperor and empress of San Diego were elected at a Royal Coronation Ball in 1973. Each chapter elects an emperor and empress who reign for a one-year term and lead the chapter’ charitable programs.
A few of Imperial Court de San Diego’s many programs are the Children’s Easter Egg Hunt, the Scott Carlson Thanksgiving Dinner, the Toni Atkins Lesbian Health Fund, the Harvey Milk/Nicole M. Ramirez Student Scholarship Program, the Nicky Awards, the Toys for Kids toy drive and the Winter Clothing and Blanket Drive.
For more information about coronation weekend events, visit imperialcourtsandiego.com.