Orlando’s leading gay activist Billy Manes died yesterday, he was 45. The cause of death hasn’t been released to the public as of this publication. On Thursday (July 20, the day before his death), Manes’ husband Anthony Mauss said he had suffered “a serious health crisis.” 
The previous Sunday, Billy Manes announced on social media that he had been fired as editor-in-chief of Watermark. Two years earlier, Manes had left Orlando Weekly (after a long run) to edit this online LGBTQ publication.
This was Billy Manes last Facebook post before his death:
July 16 at 10:04am · Orlando, FL ·
“I was effectively let go on Friday and it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t psychologically easy. I wanted to give Watermark the chance to break the news. Not sure why, but it was fair enough. Best to the future editor and please keep up up the work. I’llnfigure something new. I always do.”
The official eulogies have been declared:
Orlando Sentinel: “Billy Manes, a true original in Orlando History, will be remembered for his witty writing, distinctive style and activism for Orlando’s LGBTQ community.”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (below) saluted Manes as “always a vibrant force of nature with a healthy dose of wit who loved Orlando and helped make our city fiercely unique.”
Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan (below), praised Manes’ work as Watermark editor-in-chief in covering the Pulse nightclub attack last year.
Now it’s my turn. To speak truthfully here is considered inappropriate & beyond impolite, but I’m going to do it anyway. Billy Manes was a second-rate talent, for a second-rate weekly publication, in a second-rate city. It is a sick & sad commentary on the degradation of ‘official’ political discourse that Manes is praised by so many as one of Orlando’s finest artistic & activist voices. 
All this outpouring of media love & affection is transitory, as these charlatans have short attention spans and little aptitude for seeing what comes next. The city of Orlando was struck by a horrible terrorist act on June 12, 2016, and all that Billy Manes & Co. can come up with is rainbow flags! Not a single question or public inquiry as to the origin’s of Omar Mateen’s military ties, his father’s links to Afghanistan militias, etc….
Of course, all this leads into murky US Special Ops and covert intelligence action, which means “no reporting” in the mass media. Instead we get gay activism, as if ‘gay rights’ can be separated for anyone else’s rights? The official line is: the Pulse nightclub massacre is to remain an exclusively “gay” issue until the end of capitalism.
The unlearned lesson here is that the struggles of the working classes everywhere must no longer be subordinated to nationalism & identity politics, which always leads into a dead-end. Feminism, black racialism & gay activism are all bourgeois constructs, meant to trap these identity groups and keep them within the confines of capitalism. The truth is, no freedoms & rights can be won for any of these groups, until they come together in class perspective under the banner of revolutionary socialism.
The working people of the world have an interest in seeing that everyone is free to live their lives, with a good education & job, in a manner that fulfills their happiness. Under capitalism, this has become a hopeless dream for far too many, and it’s manifesting itself in many horrible ways. The ongoing opium/painkiller epidemic in the US, is a statement on the failures of capitalism to provide even an illusion of prosperity to its working masses.
Those who spend their lives distorting this reality, by chasing celebrity culture and enriching themselves (monetarily and/or egotistically), deserve our contempt.
In death, a final balance sheet needs to be drawn and in the case of Billy Manes we have yet another liberal apologist, who had some talent, but chose a mostly fictional self-narrative over reality & hard facts.