Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley

Shortly after being sentenced to military prison, Pvt. Manning announced a new identity as a woman named Chelsea Manning, and asked friends to use the new name and the feminine pronoun.

This is obviously not a spur of the moment decision, as Manning’s e-mail dialogue with the informer, Adrian Lamo, reproduced in the above video, shows.

Given the great service Manning has performed, by letting me know what my government has been doing behind my back. the least I can do is to refer to Chelsea Manning by her preferred name.   It costs me nothing.  It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

Manning as Chelsea

Manning as Chelsea

I don’t know why Manning thinks of herself as Chelsea instead of Bradley.  Maybe sometimes somebody’s neurological wiring doesn’t match their gross anatomy, and, when someone says they are a woman in a man’s body (or vice versa), they are speaking the literal truth.  But these are deeper waters than I know enough to swim in.

What is plain is that no sane person about to begin a long sentence in a men’s prison would announce that they were a woman in a man’s body unless they had a compelling reason to do so.

I knew of reports that Manning thought of herself as female long before the public announcement.  I never mentioned it in my posts about Manning because I thought that Manning’s whistle-blowing about crimes committed by the U.S. government was an issue I wanted to keep separate from Manning’s desire to change sexual identity.

But maybe these are not two separate things.  Maybe they are two aspects of the same thing—the desire to live in truth.


The next stage of my life, the full statement by Chelsea E. Manning.

‘I am Chelsea Manning,’ says jailed soldier formerly known as Bradley by Adam Gabbatt in The Guardian.

Manning, now Chelsea, Comes Out as Transgender by Joe Coscarelli for New York magazine.

‘He’? ‘She’?  News Media Are Encouraged to Change by Christine Haughney for the New York Times.

Bradley Manning is not a female because he says he is by Rod Dreher for The American Conservative.

People are correct interpreters of their own experience and understanding by Jim Henley for Unqualified Offerings.

Think outside the culturally-sensitive box by Thoreau for Unqualified Offerings.

“The force of days”: Manning’s 35 very long years by Natasha Lennard for Salon.

Transgender 101 by Kathleen Geier for the Washington Monthly.  [Added later]

Chelsea Manning Would Pay for Her Own Therapy in Prison by Abby Ohlheiser in The Atlantic [Added 8/27/13]

Manning’s gender hell: Shades of gray in a black-and-white world by Andrea James for Boing Boing.  [Added 8/28/13]

I hope Manning gets the hormone treatments and sex reassignment surgery she asks.  But my stronger hope is that she be pardoned, paroled or released as soon as possible, before she is assaulted, raped or murdered in prison.


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