New York Times struggles to figure out how to address Manning as female


#1

[Permalink]


#2

We all wish Chelsea the best, she's going to need it.

The New York Times, however, only sees a series of facts to be reported (supposedly). It's not their place to take a position and proactively start using female pronouns for Mr/Ms Manning-- currently he's still anatomically Bradley Manning as far as they're concerned. If Chelsea can get some sort of legal declaration of fact and/or reassignment surgery, then the NYT may change it's pronouns.

For the moment, however, the fact is that Bradley is still Bradley.


#3

Hey, it takes me a couple months every new year before I'm getting the date right on checks. People get stuck in their ways. That's not saying that the new way of doing things isn't the clearly correct way, but I find this level of concern a little disingenuous. No one was berating music writers for their difficulty in knowing how to refer to Prince during that whole symbol business.


#4

Waiting for the flames on this one...but...

Many things "determine" ones "gender".

Some say it is the DNA. That is it. XX=girl, XY=boys, XXY=abnormal. In fact, anything other than XX or XY is abnormal. It just is. That is why there is a baseline normal.

Some say it is how you feel. That is nice. Some say it is how you dress. Interesting. Both of these seem to play upon the idea of 'it is somehow how you PRESENT yourself to society' that matters. Hmm. I understand that as far as sexual preference goes however not when it comes to "being a man" or "being a woman", as if it were up to us what sex we are.

But saying, "I am now Chelsea" and expecting the world to suddenly forget that you have male DNA and fully developed genitalia, that is strange. He may feel, dress, try to 'act' like a woman, but isn't that where the saying, "a wolf in sheep's clothing" came from? Not that he is dangerous (ie a wolf) but that underneath the disguise he still is what he is, a man. Even if what he is isn't what he wants to be.

I wish him the best. And certainly hope that he is able to find freedom much sooner than they want him to.


#5

She noted the importance in the stylebook entry of the words “unless a former name is newsworthy or pertinent,” which certainly applies here.

Why they can't just use Pfc. Manning in these cases I don't know. My question in the other thread which I labeled pedantic does point out the fact that I was not sure how the historical events preceding today's announcement from Chelsea and pronouns should be treated (consensus for the few replies was she). Then again I am not the editor of a major newspaper who should have know this could become an issue.

If the NYT can't deal i don't see why they don't use Pfc. Manning as a cop out.


#6

The NYT has an obligation to communicate the news as clearly as possible. Many people are not familiar with transgender etiquette and may be confused by a sudden change in name and pronouns. I know that unless every article starts with "Brandley Manning, now known as..." people like my father will assume that the Times is referring to Manning's sister, mother or other family member. I see this as a proactive editorial to explain why that prologue will be used for quite a while and no disrespect is intended.


#7

This is an microcosmic illustration of the failure of mainstream newspapers -- and possibly the entire legacy corporate media -- to adapt and be responsive to rapidly changing cultural, social, and technological change. The Times editors can't decide what to do with themselves over this? They're nothing but intellectual meerkats pulling paychecks and pensions. Brainestoppel like this is just another reason I'm very happy to have left the business. Whut? The AP Style book is no help? Color me unsurprised.


#8

The quote about "changing over time" seems to have been taken out of context somewhat. Literally two sentences later the article says, "[G]iven Ms. Manning’s preference, it may be best to quickly change to the feminine and to explain that — rather than the other way around."


#9

Manning got demoted and is Pvt, not Pfc.


#10

Quick, everybody get your justification in about how people should refuse Manning's new identity. It totally helps and isn't rude or mean or anything at all. It's totally helping, guys; your opinion about somebody's identity is important and everyone should read it.


#11

The key point you are ignoring is that transgender people don't choose what sex they are. They don't choose their gender. They're just like you, with both factory-installed. They've just gotten stuck with sex and gender mismatch. (And sexual preference is not the same as "sex".)


#12

Please learn the difference between sex and gender.


#13

There are plenty of trans* people who have no interest in surgery. It's not ok to define people by the mainstream perception of what their gender "should" be.

Chelsea is Chelsea today. She'll be Chelsea even if she never transitions. And since she's being gate-keepered even harder than trans* people who aren't imprisoned are, it's all the more important to recognize that. The NYT doesn't get a pass on this.


#14

I see; does the NYT do a panty-check and chromosome smear on everyone they cite before concluding the proper pronouns to use? Or are trans people just treated as a special case, while everyone else is assumed to be the gender they present as?


#15

So, can we take it as read that you took a Human Sexuality class in undergrad, but earned a C?


#16

Weirdly, the media don't seem to have this kind of problem with women when they change their names at marriage or divorce. They have a perfectly useful convention, the French term "née," e.g. "Jaqueline Kennedy, née Bouvier, appeared today...."


#17

Fox is at least avoiding pronouns. Step up your game, NYT.


#18

If they're going to use the phrase "courtesy title" at all, then they should have the courtesy to use the title the person they're referring to prefers, and if they think it's confusing to switch pronouns so their usual style guidelines don't apply, they can just refer to Manning as "Manning" instead of "she". (And at least for most of us in the civilian world, referring to a military person as "Private" vs. "Private First Class" isn't something we care about, but they'll have to deal with that status changing as well.)


#19

This is the NYT's. They're still working on the word 'torture'.


#20

The NYT doesn't have to do a 'panty check'-- the Army did that for them. The fact on the ground right now is that Pvt Manning has male genetalia and has identified (publicly) as a male up until last week. For the NYT, that's fact enough to call Pvt Manning "him".