The Corner

Bradley Manning and Post Modern Gender Identity

There are legal methods of having one’s sex reassigned.  Thus, until a court order is rendered, a “he” who identifies as a “she,” remains a legal he. 

But in our post modern times, even that is seen as too limiting. We have a new law in California allowing boys who identify as girls to use girl’s bathrooms and locker rooms in public school (and visa-versa), based on their self-identity. Now, with Bradley Manning claiming to be Chelsea, Ryan Kearney goes into high dudgeon at the New Republic because the media  didn’t instantly change their reporting. From, “He is Not Bradley Manning, She is Chelsea Manning: Deal With It:”

This morning, Wikipedia users changed Manning’s entry on the site accordingly, such that it now reads, “Chelsea Manning (officially Bradley Edward Manning; born December 17, 1987)” and refers to Manning throughout as “she.” And yet, from ABC News to CBS News to Reuters to The New York Times to Politico, much of the mainstream media insists on using the male pronoun. Even the “Today” article about Manning’s statement defiantly refers to her as “he,” most notably when quoting the very sentence in which Manning asks that she be referred to as “she.”

The Guardian, to its credit, changed its topic page to “Chelsea Manning.” This should not be the exception, but the rule. Even the Associated Press stylebook says so: that reporters should “use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.

Even the Associated Press stylebook!  All bow.

No. We need structure here and a proper legal process.  Rule of law. Rule of law. Rule of law.

Until Bradley Manning is officially declared Chelsea by a court–with an amended birth certificate issued and a legal judgment of sex reassignment–he remains a legal male. That should be the standard, not a personal statement read on a television show or a change in appearance. 

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