Posts Tagged ‘Transgender’

Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley

August 26, 2013

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.