The day after Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for blowing the whistle on war crimes, his lawyer David Coombs, in an appearance on NBC’s Today Show, read the following statement:
I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund, or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.
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.
Chelsea E. Manning
Respecting her wishes, the former Bradley Manning will be addressed as a woman and will be referred to as Chelsea Manning.
There will be occasions when in the course of reporting the story as it moves through the appeals process, that Ms. Manning will be called “Bradley Manning” by officials, as Kevin Gozstola noted at FDL The Dissenter with regard to the reporting there:
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.
We, too, at The Stars Hollow Gazette and Docudharma ask for input from our transgender community on how we should appropriately report on Chelsea Manning in the future.
We wish Chelsea the best and hope that the president will grant her clemency.