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Bradley Manning Wants To Live As a Woman 784

Posted by timothy
from the symbolic-of-our-struggle-against-oppression dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Reuters reports that Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier sentenced to 35 years in military prison for the biggest breach of classified documents in the nation's history, says he is female and wants to live as a woman named Chelsea. '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,' Manning, 25, said in the statement read by anchorwoman Savannah Guthrie on NBC News' "Today" show. 'Given the way that I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible,' Manning said. 'I also request that starting today you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.' A psychiatrist, Navy Reserve Captain David Moulton, testified during Manning's trial that Manning suffered from gender dysphoria, or wanting to be the opposite sex, as well as narcissism and obsessive-compulsive disorder."
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Bradley Manning Wants To Live As a Woman

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  • Hormone therapy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:12AM (#44642147)
    Will they really provide that in prison?
    • Re:Hormone therapy? (Score:5, Informative)

      by madhatter256 (443326) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:31AM (#44642457)

      Yes. So as to avoid cruel and unusual punishment at a constitutional level, prisons have to provide adequate health care. Hell, it's worth it, you can get free chemo therapy, heart surgery, etc. Just recently, a judge struck down a law in Wisconsin that prohibited hormone therapy for inmates because it was unconstitutional.

      http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/89751122.html [todaystmj4.com]

      • Re:Hormone therapy? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:47AM (#44642691) Homepage Journal

        Hell, it's worth it, you can get free chemo therapy, heart surgery, etc

        So, if I'm uninsured and facing major narrowing of the arteries, I can go smoke a joint in a police station and get free heart surgery?

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:55AM (#44642805)

          Yes. If they let you go with a warning for smoking the joint, punch one of them.

        • by tnk1 (899206) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:59AM (#44642873)

          In many cases, yes you can. There are probably rules around it, so something like a 90 day for possession isn't going to get you heart surgery, but if you were in for 35 years, you'd certainly get heart surgery. There are definitely people who try to get themselves thrown in jail for free medical care and food. Usually those are people who have already been there before and know the system, but it does happen.

          As for hormone therapy, I could have sworn I've heard of people getting that in jail before as well. Gender dysphoria is considered a legitimate psychological condition generally, so he'd have a case, but I don't know if it is life threatening or meets the usual criteria.

        • Re:Hormone therapy? (Score:5, Informative)

          by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:06AM (#44642961)

          It happens. [theatlantic.com]

        • Re:Hormone therapy? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by AlecC (512609) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:10PM (#44643873)

          So, if I'm uninsured and facing major narrowing of the arteries, I can go smoke a joint in a police station and get free heart surgery?

          Yes. Somebody did that, Not smoking a joint, but a totally and obviously incompetent armed bank robbery. Go to bank with unloaded gun, hand over "give me the money" note, then drop the gun and surrender. He reckoned that he would have more life after getting out with his medical conditions treated than staying out and dying soon, and uncomfortably, from untreated conditions.

      • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:28AM (#44643273)

        I'm a bit mystified as to why we do this. Hear me out:

        When people ask to have limbs amputated because the person feels that having the limb doesn't make them feel whole (strange how you don't feel whole until part of you is removed?! That and/or because they have a sexual fetish for amputated limbs,) modern medicine denies that request, considers it to be abhorrent, and any medical professional who obliges the request is jailed and/or has their license to practice revoked. The treatment for the above condition is the same as if the person had a mental illness, and the solution is to change thinking patterns rather than surgery.

        http://drmarkgriffiths.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/whats-your-crutch-the-bizarre-world-of-amputee-fetishes/ [wordpress.com]

        Yet when they ask to have their genitals mutilated and hormones thrown so far out of whack to the point of permanently handicapping them to a degree, it is viewed as a human right, and in some cases this voluntary surgery must be provided for free by the government, and they are called brave in some circles? Worse is that today there is very little in the way of counseling done, and some half of them end up regretting it after the fact.

        http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Want-To-Reverse-Sex-Reassignment-Surgery/1608417 [experienceproject.com]

        I'm not taking issue with transsexualism BTW, I'm taking issue with the idea that surgery is the answer.

        • Re:Hormone therapy? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Velex (120469) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:49AM (#44643587) Journal
          Came here for this.

          Yet when they ask to have their genitals mutilated and hormones thrown so far out of whack to the point of permanently handicapping them to a degree, it is viewed as a human right

          So delicious.

          Because she (Manning) was presumably born in the USA, her genitals were likely already mutilated at birth. Secondly, the organ between your ears also has gender just the same as the organ between your legs. The process of HRT brings one's hormone levels in line with normal female levels, so I don't understand why you think anything is going "out of whack."

          I used to experience very painful headaches on a weekly basis before I started estrogen HRT. Apparently, that's not an uncommon experience. There's definitely something going on, although research is admittedly lacking (there was a study I can't seem to find again that was able to use MRI to determine brain sex in 75% of individuals in the study).

          Worse is that today there is very little in the way of counseling done, and some half of them end up regretting it after the fact.

          Sorry, a link to Experience Project isn't evidence, and there have been many flawed, biased studies on the subject to boot, sort of like the studies that back up the practice of routine infant male genital mutilation in the USA.

          I'm not taking issue with transsexualism BTW, I'm taking issue with the idea that surgery is the answer.

          Yes, you are, because not all trans women undergo bottom surgery. Bottom surgery is a personal choice and not a requirement to live as a woman or get an ID as a woman, although it may be a requirement in certain states in order to amend or change one's birth certificate.

          If you're really as rational as you're trying to present yourself as being, I'd recommend the book Whipping Girl by Julia Serano.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:08PM (#44644659) Homepage

          Gender is not binary. It isn't controlled or defined by a single physical attribute either. Just look at the difficulty sporting organizations have deciding on a person's gender. Hormones, physical attributes, chromosomes - individually none of them are definitive.

          In some cases people are born with a feminine mind but masculine body. In theory it could be corrected either by making the mind more masculine or the body more feminine, but our understanding of psychology has advanced to the stage where we understanding that trying to alter the mind can be extremely harmful and amount to torture. It's somewhat similar to the old debate about being able to "cure" homosexuality by treating it as a mental illness.

          To address your point about people wanting amputations the key difference is that being male or female is a perfectly natural state in which the human mind can be at ease. Removing limbs is not and usually indicates some other problem, where as gender issues usually just indicate gender issues. Of course, in both cases a trained psychologist has to do all they can to determine what treatment is in the best interest of the patient.

    • Re:Hormone therapy? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Salgak1 (20136) <`ten.ysaekaeps' `ta' `kaglas'> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:35AM (#44642521) Homepage
      No. The Armed Forces do not provide Gender Reassignment therapy or surgery. For at least the next 7 or so years, he/she's S.O.L. And then he/she's going to have to find a way to pay for it: it's not cheap (I have a friend who went f->m ) and he/she's going to have problems getting a job with a Dishonorable Discharge. . .
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

        and he/she's going to have problems getting a job with a Dishonorable Discharge. . .

        with millions of supporters, this seems highly unlikely.

        • by Salgak1 (20136)
          . . .but how many will remember it in 7 years ? Or get past HR, who tend to frown on things like a stint in prison and a dishonorable discharge. And even if he keeps his IT skills current (unlikely at Fort Leavenworth. . .) no employer will trust him for ANYTHING sensitive. . No, for the most part, his prospects look pretty dim for anything significant. . .
        • Re:Hormone therapy? (Score:4, Informative)

          by dywolf (2673597) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:22AM (#44643187)

          when you get the Big Chicken Dinner you become flat out ineligible for something like 45% of all jobs in the US. thats just the ones where its basically flat out regulated because they have ties or are involved with the government in some way. then theres the corproations where HR is going to see it say "nope", thats probably another 30-35%.

          The best options for people with the BCD basically boils down to small companies or friends without government ties/contracts, or entrepenaurship (which is itself hard, cause you gotta get customers, and some of them (such as against the governemnt and some big corps) have rules against who they will source from).

          the dishonorable discharge is no joke and very real burden to -anyone- who gets one.

          • Re:Hormone therapy? (Score:5, Informative)

            by tnk1 (899206) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:10PM (#44643877)

            And that's just a Bad Conduct Discharge, which isn't actually a Dishonorable. An actual Dishonorable is much, much worse. Assuming you didn't get it as a result of a felony, you might as well have committed a felony for all the trouble you are going to have making a living when you get out. With a BCD, you forfeit benefits, with a DD, you are equivalent to an actual civil felon in many states AND you are not permitted to own a firearm by Federal law.

            Still, Manning is probably going to have a few more options than most DDs get based on what he did to get there, I expect a book deal at the very least. His real problem is going to be the next seven, sixteen, or thirty-five years he is stuck in Leavenworth and how that affects him when he does get out. Depending on how well he can turn his life around afterward, he may be better off not owning a weapon anyway.

            The sad thing about all of this is that, as much as people want to portray him as a heroic whistleblower or a nefarious traitor, he was also in all sorts of emotional turmoil at the time. I'm not so sure he would have made the same decisions if he was in a more stable frame of mind.

            In any case, I am really, really annoyed with the military for not removing clearance from someone who was doing things like violent outbursts and who had a history of instability all the way from boot camp on. I am also annoyed with, although not surprised by, about his commanders' reactions to his attempts to express his issues and both their failure to not take it seriously or even to just get him the hell out of work where your lifestyle is supposed to be considered fair game for whether you get a clearance. Manning was clearly an obvious security risk.

          • I'll just chime in that while it's probably 45% of jobs TOTAL, a BCD(Bad Conduct Discharge) is different and actually better than a Dishonorable. Most of them fixed on the point that people with one are felons, so any positions that ban felons also ban DDs.

            A BCD is a misdemeanor level discharge, a DD is a felony level. I'm not a military lawyer, but that's how I understand it.

  • by skovnymfe (1671822) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:13AM (#44642163)
    No offense to transpeople, but why is this on Slashdot? I don't give a fuck if he wants to be a man or a woman in jail.
    • by Zaldarr (2469168) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:17AM (#44642237) Homepage
      Because /. has been going down the tubes for years.
      • by Salgak1 (20136)
        Well, that's only appropriate, as Sen. Ted Stevens tells us, since the Internet is an entire SERIES of tubes. . .
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:19AM (#44642261)

      If she wants to be a man or woman, you insensitive clod!

    • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:24AM (#44642345)

      No offence to you, but I don't give a fuck about your opinion. And normally I wouldn't say it, but since you seem to think it's important to tell everyone what you don't care about...

      I find Manning's actions and any information about her history which would go toward explaining them both interesting and important. People do not act in a vacuum.

    • by lxs (131946) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:39AM (#44642583)

      In one sentence: Bradley was our hero. Now Chelsea is our hero.

      It's a story that many of us have been following since the beginning. For those among us that are not robots the lives of the people involved are at least of passing interest to us. In my opinion Manning has done a great thing. He/she deserves better than being relegated to obscurity the moment the story is over.

    • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:16AM (#44643091) Homepage

      Equally important is why this is news at all?

      Yes, Bradley Manning is an important person. But the details of his personal issues are not newsworthy, except as how they may have effected his decision to provide the information to Wikileaks. Its certain his sexual identity problems played some role in his unhappiness with his position in the army. But ultimately this is a man depressed about who he is and wanting to change. At root, it's not much different from scrawny guy wanting to be big and butch and - unable to live up to that fantasy - doing something reckless. But if that were all there was to the story, you can be sure it wouldn't get half the coverage this one does.

      And why is this so much more exciting? Because transexualism is still considered indecent and indicative of severe psychological problems by our society. Manning is being demonized as a a nut, a freak; certainly not someone to look up to as a patriot standing up for the ideals of his country. The release of this information is an attempt at distracting the public from the much more important problems his actions brought to light, and as a warning to other whistleblowers. It's an underlying message that says not only says "Fuck with the government and all your dirty laundry will be made public" but also "only weirdos and loons would consider a 'traitorous' act like Manning's in the first place!")

      So, yeah, not being personally involved with Bradley Manning I find the details of the problems that led to his actions inconsequential. They are his private demons that he needs to deal with alone. I'd rather the focus be on the other, far more newsworthy problems brought up by his case, be it the revelations in the leaks themselves, the response by the government to said leaks, or even how poorly the US Army is dealing with the psychologically vulnerable members of its armed forces. THAT is news, not whether Mr. Manning is happy with his dick or not.

    • by amiga3D (567632) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:42AM (#44643475)

      Because it's controversial and will generate tons of responses and lots of flaming. I don't care what he calls him/herself. It's Jerry Springer stuff and there is enough of that crap on TV so we sure as shit could do without it on a supposed techno/geek site.

  • Me too. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:13AM (#44642171)

    As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Anonymous Cowardess, I am a female.

  • Popcorn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:15AM (#44642201)

    Getting popcorn - I fully expect this discussion to be mature and informative.

  • by schwit1 (797399) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:22AM (#44642307)

    Who cares if he wants to live as a woman, a man or a chipmonk?

    This inane crap belongs on Digg not here.

  • by Russ1642 (1087959) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:24AM (#44642359)

    Saul: A man has the right to change his name to vatever he vants to change it to. And if a man vants to be called Chelsea, godammit this is a free country, you should respect his vishes, and call the man Chelsea!
    Morris: His mamma call him Bradley, imma call him Bradley.
    Saul: Then you're a putz. All of you are putzes. They should change the sign outside from My-T-Sharp to 'ze Three Putzes.

  • Section 8 (Score:5, Funny)

    by sunking2 (521698) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:33AM (#44642505)
    Didn't work for Klinger in MASH, won't work for him either.
  • by barlevg (2111272) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:41AM (#44642619)
    I read about this on WaPo [washingtonpost.com] about half an hour ago, where I noticed they did an incredibly intelligent and thoughtful thing: they disabled comments. Now if only that were possible on /.
    • by ganjadude (952775) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:02AM (#44642927) Homepage
      no. screw that. I get annoyed as hell when places decide for me what stories i can and cant comment on. Thats why digg fell apart when they got bought out, they disabled all comments.

      slashdot IS comments. I can find these stories all over the web (in fact as we all joke we usually do before its here) but we come to slashdot for the comments. Sure the quality has dropped in the past 10 years but there are still alot of good posters here, and there is no reason to disable posts on a story because of fear of what will be said. In fact the entire Idea just tells me whatever is happeneing that we would even considering such a thing, is a horrible thing to begin with or something that is clearly wrong.
  • by Bugler412 (2610815) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:44AM (#44642655)
    Why is the gender choice or alignment or preference or whatever of Manning even relevant to any of the current discussions, and why of all things it it relevant here? Sigh....
  • The Full Statement (Score:5, Informative)

    by Iridium_Hack (931607) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:45AM (#44642659)
    Actually, I heard that the following statement was made by Bradly Manning and picked up by the Associated Press. He made it to the President in a request for a pardon. In my opinion, these two statements don't sound like they came from the same person. With as much embarrassment and/or trouble as the Bradley Manning case has caused the government, adding a little spicy twist on the story in the end doesn't sound unlikely.

    Associated Press — FORT MEADE, Md. — The text of U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s statement that will be sent to the president, as read by defense attorney David Coombs following Manning’s sentencing Wednesday, below:

    --------

    Manning's statement, in full:

    The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

    I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing.

    It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability. In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

    Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

    Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy — the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps — to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

    As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

    I understand that my actions violated the law; I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

    If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society.

    I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

  • by Harvey Manfrenjenson (1610637) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:46AM (#44642681)

    Kind of an absurd turn of phrase, isn't it? It's a bit like saying that someone "suffers from" being an asshole.

    (Whether Manning deserves to be called a narcissist at all... that is, of course, a whole other question).

    • by QilessQi (2044624) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:03AM (#44642929)

      Narcissistic Personality Disorder is narcissism taken to unhealthy extremes; it describes only about 1 percent of the population. One might argue that "being an asshole" affects a far, far larger percentage.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder [wikipedia.org]

      • Narcissistic Personality Disorder is narcissism taken to unhealthy extremes; it describes only about 1 percent of the population.

        I was being flippant, but let me try to restate my point more seriously:

        There is something problematic with the idea of classifying a "personality disorder" as a type of medical disorder-- especially when the personality disorder is defined by qualities such as "arrogance" or "lack of empathy". The implication, which of course is never stated in so many words, is that "narcissism" is a condition similar to rheumatoid arthritis, and that we musn't blame those who are "afflicted" by it.

        (The diagnosis of "gen

  • Let's Not Be Jerks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by assertation (1255714) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:51AM (#44642751)

    Speaking as a straight, cisgendered ( transgender people's word for "normal" ), white, and quite handsome man.........please lets not make fun of Manning.

    He is a human being, some who consider to be a hero, who just happens to have problems.

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:52AM (#44642755) Homepage Journal

    Bradley Womanning?

  • by cod3r_ (2031620) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:59AM (#44642855)
    I'd ask to be put in a woman's jail as well.
  • With this timing, I had to re-read the headline in my RSS reader 3 times to be sure it wasn't from The Onion. Apparently this isn't new information but it was the first I'd heard of it.

  • by Chas (5144) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:13PM (#44643907) Homepage Journal

    Honestly,

    It seems like this tidbit of info, coming when it has, is pitch perfect to make people stop listening to the Bradley Manning situation and turn the whole fiasco into a bad joke.

    Isn't that just TERRIBLY convenient for the government?

  • by imag0 (605684) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:17PM (#44643951) Homepage

    The timing seems... odd to me. Right when people are using this guy as a hero and poster boy for whistleblowing and BAM. Try to make him look "a little off in the head" instead.

    Just seems rather PSYOP-flavored story. I'm probably wrong, but it feels that way.

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