So the Internet has been all aflutter recently due to the announcement that Chelsea Manning, the convicted and sentenced Wikileaks whistleblower, was planning on transition from male to female. For those who had been following the case, this shouldn’t have come as a surprise, as she has mentioned wanting to transition since 2010. A transition in our society is difficult enough without including the fact of being a controversial figure. Due to Manning’s charges, people have very strong feelings about her, and many of these feelings are being expressed as a result of her transition.
Thus the extremely transphobic nature of a lot of mainstream journalism comes to light. I did a quick Google search of “Chelsea Manning” and the results are quite depressing. Take a look for yourself:
We’re not talking about the Daily Mail or NY Post (both notorious for the salacious nature of their “news”), with the titles of ‘I am Chelsea Manning’: Bradley Manning announces that she is a…’ for the Mail and ‘I am Chelsea Manning. I am female’: Army leaker Bradley Manning… for the Post, which is surprisingly not AS bad as some of the ones for sites that are supposed to be more “reputable journalism.” Both CBS and the Chicago Tribune have the cringeworthy headline, “Bradley Manning: I want to live as a woman named Chelsea,” as though she had said that she wanted to live in an apartment in Chelsea, or wanted to live wearing pajamas, as though she were making a simple “hmm, let’s try out this newfangled fun activity” instead of having finally making a decision regarding the gender dysphoria she’s been struggling with. The LA Times, Today.com, ABC news, had the equally as disturbing “Bradley Manning Wants To Live as a Woman.”
Seriously, people. I understand the necessity of including Manning’s former name in articles as she is such a high-profile person, but there is certainly a better way to frame it than saying, “Bradley Manning Wants To Live as a Woman.”