Early this morning, Chelsea Manning – who was recently sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified documents – announced to the world that she would be transitioning:
As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.
That Manning is trans isn’t exactly news – for some time, it has been fairly public that Manning had questions about her gender assigned at birth. What is news, however, is Manning’s request to be called Chelsea and to be referred to with feminine pronouns.
Now is the time when the solidarity politics of the folks on the left who have been behind Manning this whole time will be tested – will they take the simple action of respecting her wishes to self-determine her gender? I’m also thinking about the fact that she has just been sentenced to 35 years in a men’s prison, and the added pain and trauma of this misgendering in addition to that of imprisonment. Already the media is misgendering, using incorrect pronouns, posting inflammatory comparison pictures. I hope the left will do better.