Manning’s self-made gender hell: Shades of gray in a black-and-white world

If you want to garner public sympathy, pretending to be trans is probably one of the least effective ways to get it. That said, Manning’s gender issues were revealed three years ago in her conversation with Adrian Lamo. The fact that she’s trans is not new. The fact that she wanted to transition is not new. Anyone who has followed this case has known that from the beginning. The only thing that’s new is that, following the conclusion of her trial, she has publicly announced her intention to transition.

I don’t think you’re being evil or bad to question it. I think you’re just being ridiculous about it.


Surely it’s trans people that are the very slim portion of LGBT groups statistically, the trans population is very small as part of the LGBT group let alone the general populous. It’s not then surprising that a lot of LGBT groups probably have few or no T members so minimal connection with T issues mainly just the LGB ones which they’ve done really well on in the last 20 years.

Saying that from a legislative area trans people have been amazingly accommodated by the law, there are set processes in place you can legally change, often from state funded medical programmes etc etc and considering how it is argued trans people are there has been a near silent revolution in this area and it’s now the kinks are being worked out.

I personally think the jumping down the neck of people perceived by some to have done wrong by calling Manning he, including boing boing as well I might add. Its a fair assumption considering the military are keeping him in a male prison to argue he is not living as a woman yet.

I think people need more than for someone to say I’m a woman and that’s enough, that might be enough for trans people but not most people… Normally people start living under a new name and living as a woman (hormones etc don’t matter it’s the symbolic thing I think people need to see) and they’ll say she (although again I think it’s fair enough to refer to Manning as him in the past tense) but here it’s a mess because he announced this at the wrong time where he couldn’t possibly start the public transition.

I also think in general trans advocates (and non-trans people white knighting) are going to have to accept not getting called the pro-noun you want immediately with nothing else to back it up is going to be tough are going to be an issue they may just have to deal with and stop alienating people.

There is an excellent BBC Radio 4 The Report from earlier in the year about trans issues and particularly feminist reaction to it. and some of the people on bought up the problems without easy answers and legit concerns you mention as well as things like access to gender specific services for vulnerable people (basically women’s shelters, rape crisis centres etc) where trans women, particularly pre-op, cause a problem because their presence can be to the detriment of the women there. One of the people interviewied who was a social worker at a women’s shelter told of specific time where a legally female alcoholic pre op trans woman who looked like a man couldn’t be refused access to the service but because of her clothes she had a clearly visible penis caused a lot of distress to the women there and for them, many the victims of horrible domestic abuse and/or rape the place that was supposed to be a male free place, and a place of safety stopped being that.

That’s one example but there is going to be a lot of stuff like this and at the moment the trans community and LGBT groups actually interested in this matter should understand they need to compromise and win battles one at a time with a long term goal in place through gradual change. I’d suggest for starters not trying to force everyone to say she when referring to Manning (and trans people in general) but only when they start living as a woman and giving people a bit of grace to make the he/she swap and after a certain period of time then you can start correcting people,

Being shouted at by self righteous people for calling Manning he isn’t going to help. I genuinely think not just these revalations themselves brining up problems but at least in some circles (ones that basically support trans rights) trans advocacy groups have done harm in their po faced, overly sensitive, black and white reaction to a complex issue.


Back under your bridge.


Yep, that’s discrimination for you- Cis people get to be happy mutants and trans people get sighed at heavily for not showing that they’re assimilated- ‘a lot like us’.


OMG!!!1! Now the neighbors will think all trans people are leaking top secret secrets! And it’s just going to cause even more confusing when I have to explain to my 7 year-old daughter why Edward Snowden isn’t trans.


Jenonymous reallllllly also just typed ‘s/he’. Jenonymous needs to go sit in the time out chair until the next round.


The compromise is acceptance and respect, regardless of understanding. I don’t have to understand why a person feels the way they do for me to accept that they do, and it’s common courtesy to refer to people in the manner they choose. Who am I, or you, or anyone else, to say that Chelsea is not Chelsea? That Chelsea is not a woman? That Chelsea’s identity is somehow invalid, or hasn’t met the standard for “realness”, or that enough time hasn’t passed for her to earn the respect of simply being called by her name? The compromise is to accept that a person knows themselves better than someone else can know them and to treat them accordingly, not to tell them to stop being uppity and just accept that they’re acknowledged at all.


Sadly enough, that’s probably not far from the truth with a large segment of the American population. :frowning:

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This article is quite odd. It quotes Kristin Beck, another trans Navy Seal who has nothing but scathing misgendering words for Manning, who seems to presumably throw trans people under the proverbial bus for the sacrifice of the almighty military complex – or something – and then Andrea James says “It’s hard for me to see Manning as an unalloyed hero.” (Is this a problem? Modulo Manning’s leak, I thought it would be somewhat obvious that “heroes” aren’t always the black-and-white Lawful Good people that seem to suggest they are.)

I find it also curious that James hasn’t used female pronouns for Manning in the entirety of the article, opting to use “Manning” instead (Am I wrong? I’m in a bit of a rush). Compare that with Beck’s intentional misgendering as a complication of Beck’s feelings against Manning’s actions. Stated without comment.


Really? I doubt the average American has given much thought to trans people let alone formed an opinion based on Manning. Outside of drag queens, trans people are practically invisible. I imagine for people who believe in the gender binary and choose to present the “opposite” gender, not being visibly trans is the point.

Not a wise move, perhaps, but totally understandable.

People who are depressed and confused and lacking a sense of identity are often attracted to organizations and lifestyles that offer structure (rules of conduct, a uniform, etc.), a sense of membership/fellowship and a clear purpose. The military meets all those requirements, as do many cults/religious organizations (from born again evangelism and Hare Krishna to Chabad Lubavitch and Heaven’s Gate).

And not everyone has access to a friendly trans support group.


[quote=“PrestonSturges, post:2, topic:8302, full:true”]
Joining the army is probably not a good move for anyone that is depressed, confused, and lacking a sense of identity.[/quote]
Yup. Y’know why that’s a bad idea? Because the army brutally stigmatizes those things as unfitting with the macho image, instead of turning their massive resources towards finding solutions.

It’s a bad idea for the same reason that a black guy joining the Klan is a bad idea.

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My experience has been that the average American thinks trans people are all drag queens. My post was more illustrating how people often take limited information about an outlying group and apply it to all the people within that group in the absence of other information. Case in point, that so many Americans think all trans people are drag queens.

And you’re right about those who blend in with their target gender, but you’re only invisible until you have to reveal your transness to someone for some purpose. Then you’re nicely confronted with the opinions and views of the average American.

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Ah, yes, the “they’re not really trans, they just want attention” argument. Haven’t heard that one before, no sir.

But hey, sure, pretending to be someone that macho military types want to torture and kill just as you’re getting sent to a military prison is totally something that an actual human would do. I’m sure if you were in that situation, you’d be shouting “Allah Akbar” and railing about destroying the Great Satan, because, hey, attention.


Oh, and here’s another classic: say something blindingly stupid, get called on it, start whining about censorship.

You’re not being censored. You’re being informed that your words are stupid and make no sense. There’s a difference.


And I still don’t understand why you think it’s “blindingly stupid” to suspect that Mannig may not be trying to gain something from re-asserting old news regarding his gender identity, unless you believe that people of a certain social strata/class/group/etc can do no wrong. OTOH that wouldn’t be the first time on BB.

Because it’s not reasonable to think that that’s the reason, especially knowing everything that trans people go through simply because they’re trans.


Trans folk are reduced to objects through this method, and objects of scorn more than anything else. The idea that you can never be “real” by cisgender standards is something experienced even within the LGBT community.



Yes, but a lot of people who have major personal problems sometimes seem to be the most susceptible to joining the most oppressive groups possible; they think that the absolute micro-structuring of their life by others will somehow bring happiness or at least minimize the problems brought on by freer choices.

The example that I am most familiar with isn’t the military, but Orthodox/Chassidic Judaism, believe it or not. I know a lot of current Orthodox, but I also know a LOT of ex-Orthodox/Chassids of both genders, including a few who went to Israel and started families there before hitting the panic/eject button.

Only a very small few of the “exes” that I know were born to the sects that they left. Most of them were looking for a combo of a more meaningful faith, coupled with greater family stability and more of a blueprint for an adult life (especially after college/dropping out of college and/or a nasty family divorce). In some of the womens’ cases, it was to resolve ambiguity about having kids (ie no choice=no thinking about it)

Yes, being part of a closed community can seem to be a problem-solver, but it can also be really stifling if there are other unresolved issues (ie kids vs no kids, LGBTQ, commitment issues in general, etc).

Sadly true :frowning: