The Oklahoma Center for Conscience issues the following statement in regards to the announcement of the desire of Bradley Manning to transition to female and be known as Chelsea Manning. Quotes from this statement should be credited to Rena Guay, OCC Executive Director.
Anyone who has given the Bradley Manning case more than the most cursory attention would have known that the Army private attested to gender dysphoria issues as early at 2009, and in fact was diagnosed with the condition by military doctors, facts that were part of the defense mitigation efforts during the sentencing phase of the court-martial.
Now, after a cruel and deeply unjust sentence of 35 years has been given, for the media to instead sensationalize the desire of Bradley Manning to live as Chelsea Manning, while not untypical of American media in general, is nonetheless a further travesty. It is a distraction from the very serious consequences for our society and system of government to have whistleblowers treated like terrorists, and information equated with treason.
Another day, another black eye for the mainstream media as concerns this case, and the unconstitutional and immoral actions of our government in general.
Regardless of gender, Bradley/Chelsea Manning is a person of uncommon integrity and courage. The willingness to be open and honest about her medical condition, and desire to transition to better reflect her inner identity, is testament to that.
We will certainly honor Manning’s request to use Chelsea E. Manning in all references, and to use the feminine pronoun from this point forward. Like a name change for any individual, learning to use (or hear) a new name for someone one knows, whether personally or as a public figure, may take time and practice, but it soon becomes natural.
We will continue to support Chelsea Manning through the legal appeals process and advocacy campaigns for pardon or clemency. Further, we call on the US military to treat gender dysphoria as the medical condition it is and to allow doctors caring for Manning to treat her appropriately with standard hormone therapy.