A statement by the soldier sentenced to thirty-five years in prison as Bradley Manning yesterday was released by his defense attorney, David Coombs, indicating that Manning would now like to be Chelsea Manning because he is a female.
The decision to be a woman was reported by the “TODAY” show. Manning thanked supporters that had helped keep Manning strong throughout the court martial and then declared:
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.
Before any more posts on the sentence yesterday and his recent statements (and previous statements), it is important to clarify how Firedoglake’s comprehensive coverage will appear on the website.
No one has urged Firedoglake to go back and alter prior coverage of Manning’s case to reflect the announcement. However, I want to make it clear that Manning will continue to appear as Bradley Manning in all previously published posts and pages put together during the course of the court martial because they are historical records that represent the journalism that was being done.
Manning’s name in the legal case, as an appeal moves forward in military courts and as the request for a pardon is considered, will likely continue to be Bradley Manning. There will always be mentions and acknowledgments in posts that Manning is now Chelsea, a woman, but sometimes the name “Bradley Manning” will appear because that name is likely to be used by officials, prosecutors or lawyers.
The main coverage page at Firedoglake will continue to use the name “Bradley Manning” as coverage relates particularly to his legal case. Any other stories on Manning, the person, or Manning, as Manning transitions to this new phase of life, will solely use Chelsea Manning.
An earlier version of this post read, “When referring to what happened prior to August 22, 2013, it will be appropriate to use the name Bradley Manning for accuracy because Manning was Bradley Manning during pretrial confinement and had even asked that he be referred to as Bradley Manning during the course of the court martial.”
Upon contact from a transgender veteran who expressed concern, I am no longer willing to adopt this “procedure.” I will refer to Manning as Chelsea Manning even when recounting events in the court martial because that is the appropriate and respectful thing to do.
Now, as far as the coverage page at FDL that says “Bradley Manning,” FDL will consult members of the transgender community and see what they think would be appropriate. The coming weeks may see some adjustments to the page in order to be sensitive to Manning’s announcement.