Bradley Manning Is Now Chelsea Manning

This picture of Bradley Manning, now Chelsea Manning, dressed as a woman was shown at Manning's trial.Provided by U.S. ArmyBradley Manning announced in a statement today a name and gender change. Bradley is becoming Chelsea and is asking to be referred to as a female and wants to begin hormone therapy.

From Manning's letter:

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.

Manning's gender confusion was brought up before and during her trial. She may find some frustrations trying to move forward while in prison. Courthouse News contacted Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where Manning is likely to serve time. Their assistance to Manning will not extend beyond psychological support:

Ft. Leavenworth spokeswoman Kimberly Lewis told Courthouse News that treatment for transgender inmates does not extend beyond psychiatric care.

"All inmates are considered soldiers and are treated as such with access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and behavioral science noncommissioned officers with experience in addressing the needs of military personnel in pre- and post-trial confinement," Lewis said in an email. "The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder."

The treatment of transgendered inmates has become a point of contention as the movement garners more attention and respect (and fear, sadly). Courthouse News notes the legal cases that have cropped up as transgendered inmates fight for the right for medical treatment:

A growing number of federal judges have ruled that rejecting such treatment for transgender prisoners constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

Indeed, the jurisdiction of the Maryland courtroom where the WikiLeaks source has been tried is subject to a 4th Circuit decision from Jan. 28 this year guaranteeing the possibility of sex-reassignment surgery for all federal inmates in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North and South Carolina.

The Chicago-based 7th Circuit ruled similarly in 2011, striking down a Wisconsin law banning such medical care. A Boston federal judge granted surgery to a convicted wife-killer last year, and the 1st Circuit is currently mulling that decision on appeal.

As a soldier in a military prison, though, Manning is not subject to these decisions. She may end up finding herself as the face of another battle — one about how the military treats transgendered members. 

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  • Pro Libertate||

    The world is so weird. If this were a movie, I'd be mocking it for being unbelievable.

  • sgs||

    Especially the part where this man who is a man taking some meds actually convinces people he's not a man.

  • timbo||

    I thought at first this guy was some kind of principled objector.
    Looks like he is just another fruit cake that needs attention after all.

  • Dweebston||

    It was the perfect crime, if only she'd perfected her disguise transformation in advance.

  • GPZsug||

    I'd normally oppose my tax dollars going to someone's hormone therapy, but I make exceptions for heroes.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    I'd normally oppose my tax dollars going to someone's hormone therapy, but I make exceptions for heroes.

    What exactly did he do that was so heroic? Snowden yes, but I really don't see anything that Manning did as heroic.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Ptah-Hotep,

    but I really don't see anything that Manning did as heroic.


    He (or Chelsea - whatever) risked life and forfeited liberty so people would know what the U.S. government was doing around the world.

    That sounds pretty heroic to me.

  • Another David||

    Releasing the videos of the Baghdad and Granai airstrikes, for starters. Snowden exposed mass illegal surveillance, Manning exposed the executions of unarmed women, children and reporters.

  • R C Dean||

    At worst, the Baghdad video shows collateral damage, not an intentional execution.

    The first group that was shot up was a bunch of armed men running towards a firefight. Not sure how the chopper was supposed to identify the reporter they were escorting. Having tagged them as insurgents, no surprise that the unmarked (as I recall) vehicles that came to their aid were also tagged as insurgents and shot up.

    Snowden, yeah, I can see what he did as heroic. Manning I struggle with. He dumped a crapload of data without really knowing, as near as I can tell, what was in most of it.

  • ||

    I more or less agree. Manning revealed mostly shit we already knew happens once in a while in war zones. Intentional or not. The things we already knew about Iraq were often worse than what he revealed.

    Snowden's revelations confirmed things we suspected, but weren't sure of, that the government had no intention of ever letting us know about, and that have no conceivable justification.

  • Libertymike||

    Both are heroes, period.

    The united states government has no right to keep secrets, much less secrets of its hired killers killing folk on their soil. Any person who releases such information, at the risk of his life and liberty, is, by definition, a hero.

  • Libertymike||

    Death by collateral damage occasioned by the state's killers is murder.

  • Libertymike||

    In a free society, in a world where reason rules, there is no "the furherer ordered me to" exception to murder. Put another way, big boys do not coddle soldiers, particularly if soldier boy whines that "he was only following orders."

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    In a free society, in a world where reason rules, there is no "the furherer ordered me to" exception to murder. Put another way, big boys do not coddle soldiers, particularly if soldier boy whines that "he was only following orders."

    I agree with you on this. Some people understand that non-defensive war is murder writ large.

  • ||

    Personally, I give a tremendous amount of leeway to, say, an 18 year old draftee sent to liberate Europe who may have blown away an unarmed civilian unintentionally while navigating the rubble of a bombed out building, mistaking him for an enemy soldier. I even give some leeway to, say, a guy on his 4th tour in some middle eastern shit hole who cynically blows away the driver of a vehicle speeding toward his checkpoint who has ignored instructions to stop after he's spent the last 2 years watching his fellow soldiers get blown to bits under similar circumstances.

    I also don't consider anyone killed during a defensive war to be a murder victim. An ethical system with no provision for "just war" is no better than one with no provision for personal self defense.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    An ethical system with no provision for "just war" is no better than one with no provision for personal self defense.

    To me the ethical system is:

    just war = personal self defense

    If you are justified in using deadly force to protect yourself, you are justified in using deadly force to protect your home, family, etc. from an invading army.

  • ||

    Guess you better hope your 30-06 has a real good scope when, say, an ICBM is incoming, or the invading army droned your house from an air conditioned room 10,000 miles away. Shooting the perps from the bunker in your front yard might get tough.

  • Libertymike||

    What you describe is more akin to what Iraquis and Afghanis and Pakistanis and Yemenis have been doing against American war criminals.

  • ||

    What you describe is more akin to what Iraquis and Afghanis and Pakistanis and Yemenis have been doing against American war criminals.

    I don't think they've had much success in killing any of the people operating the drones, and extremely limited success killing any of the people launching missiles. I hate to be pedantic, but that's a point that seems quite crucial to your ethical premise.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Guess you better hope your 30-06 has a real good scope when, say, an ICBM is incoming, or the invading army droned your house from an air conditioned room 10,000 miles away.

    And the people who did that would be murderers.

    What I am saying is if you are attacked, you have a right to protect yourself. If a nation is attacked, it too has a right to protect itself.

    But you do not have the right to break into someones house and kill them. And countries do not have the right to invade other countries and kill those people either.

    You can make the case that the US is protecting itself by doing what it did in Iraq, and is currently doing in AfPak; but the basic moral structure still stands.

  • Libertymike||

    You can try and make the case that the US is protecting itself by invading and mass murdering as it has and continues to do so in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the attempt would be futile as there is no case to be made. In fact, its laughable and the stuff of Woo. Its totalitarian twaddle.

  • ||

    You can try and make the case that the US is protecting itself by invading and mass murdering as it has and continues to do so in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the attempt would be futile as there is no case to be made.

    I already pointed out that I don't consider Iraq a defensive war. Afghanistan certainly started out that way, and could have been legitimately prosecuted as a purely defensive war, but has long since ceased from being so.

  • ||

    What I am saying is if you are attacked, you have a right to protect yourself. If a nation is attacked, it too has a right to protect itself.

    My point being that at a national level, sometimes defending oneself from attack or retaliating after the fact may entail an adventure on foreign real estate, and may entail killing the shit out of people only tangentially related to the probably very small group of people who instigated the action. I doubt that many of the Japanese pilots from Pearl Harbor were killed in Nagasaki, for example, but I don't have a problem with the deployment of the bomb because that was a defensive front in WWII. I doubt that very many of the pilots who blitzkrieg'd GB were killed in Dresden, but here again...

    FWIW, I don't consider Iraq a defensive war, and I think the defensive component of Afghanistan expired probably some time around mid 2002.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    PM

    I think you and I are in agreement, but talking past each other. I agree that Iraq was not a defensive war and I have no problem with the way Afghanistan started.

  • ||

    Yeah, my fault, I think I interpreted your ethical justification for defensive war more narrowly than you intended.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    If what Manning revealed was of so little consequence, why did the government go after him? Why was it secret in the first place?

  • ||

    If what Manning revealed was of so little consequence, why did the government go after him? Why was it secret in the first place?

    IMO, mostly because some of the stuff he released was humiliating in terms of the way it reflected on our diplomatic apparatus. Just because there may be certain operational details that could legitimately be classified, don't mistake me for arguing that everything the government classifies is legitimate.

  • Libertymike||

    Afghanistan could hardly be described as "defensive" at the beginning. Afghanistan did not attack the US. Do you have any, direct, unambiguous evidence supportive of the proposition that Afghanistan initiated war against the US?

    See, the problem with pointing to 9/11 as the basis for the US making war against Afghanistan is that you have to admit that you believe in fairy tales.

    If you rely upon the conspiracy theories of the united states government, you admit that you have no argument.

    We know that the warmongers will cite that Afghanistan was harboring OBS and other naughty Mooslims who caused 9-11. The Afghan government asked the US for proof that OBL or other Mooslims in Afghanistan were behind 9-11 and the US responded with a middle finger and mass murder.

  • GPZsug||

    What exactly did he do that was so heroic?

    The government has no authority to keep secrets. Anyone who leaks anything is a hero.

  • ||

    The government has no authority to keep secrets.

    That's a fairly retarded statement. Publishing plans and operational details of certain military endeavors publicly would be suicidal for the people carrying them out. Some things are classified for legitimate reasons. I think some libertarians occasionally forget that defense actually IS one of the very few legitimate functions of government (argue all you want about what constitutes "defense", but exposing your military operations to the people you're fighting is pretty retarded even if you're fighting a bad war for bad reasons).

  • Libertymike||

    Where in the declaration of independence is there a green light for the state to keep secrets?

    Where in the federal constitution is there an explicit grant of authority for the federal government to keep secrets?

    Where in the unanimous declaration is there an endorsement of the proposition that the state can actually make war?

    Where in the federal constitution is there authority for the state to make war in foreign lands?

    It can't be found. In addition, there is no requirement for Congress to even create a defense department or an army or to protect all the little sheeples.

  • strat||

    To a first approximation, nations exist with respect to each other largely in a state of anarchy.

  • ||

    The war that followed the Declaration and preceded the Constitution employed no small amount of espionage and secret-keeping, so you could make the case it was endorsed implicitly. Since broadcasting to your co-combatants your plans and maneuvers has generally been acknowledged by everyone since Cain slew Abel as a ridiculous thing to do, the people who wrote the constitution probably didn't figure it needed to be jotted down.

    Where in the unanimous declaration is there an endorsement of the proposition that the state can actually make war?

    Where in the federal constitution is there authority for the state to make war in foreign lands?

    In the Declaration? Well, umm... it was a pretext to a war to secure the declared independence.

    In the constitution? Article 1, Section 8, mostly. Quote to follow

  • ||

    Article I, Section 8 (relevant passages only):

    The Congress shall have Power To...

    To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
    To provide and maintain a Navy;
    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

  • ||

    Note in particular the punish piracies and felonies on the high seas; to declare war; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; raise and support armies; make rules concerning captures on land and water passages. The state is explicitly given the authority to make war. If you want to argue that that authority applies only to defensive conflicts on American soil, have at it, but the language is against you. In particular the language on letters of marque and reprisals, on the captures on land and water, and the punishment of crimes on the high seas.

  • Libertymike||

    Where in there is the explicit go ahead to make war in foreign lands?

    You can infer all you want, you can imply all you want and you can bend over all you want in furtherance of supporting your opposition to my point, but the text does not green light making war in foreign lands. It just is not there.

    So, do you go with the implication favorable to the use and projection of state power or do you go with the strict letter of the text and chain the state to the same?

  • Libertymike||

    Does it say that war can be made in the middle east or upon any other continent? If so, where is it so written?

    Does it say that war can be made in order to make the world safe for democracy?

    Does it say that war can be made in order to nation build?

    Does it say that war can be made by making the people debt slaves?

  • ||

    Does it say that war can be made in order to make the world safe for democracy?

    Does it say that war can be made in order to nation build?

    Does it say that war can be made by making the people debt slaves?

    I quoted the goddamn text, read it yourself. It's not complex. The power of congress to declare war isn't given with any stipulation on the reasons for which war can be waged. Personally, I think non-defensive wars are illegitimate uses of the state. But unfortunately, the founders didn't make that explicit. A good many of them probably didn't actually believe it.

  • ||

    A) War on the "high seas" is authorized as explicitly as any text in the document. So at best you could argue that foreign wars are only sanctioned in so far as we don't get off the boats. Also...

    B) I'll let Wikipedia take care of what exactly it is that a letter of marque and reprisal authorizes, and you tell me if it sounds like it only involves repelling invaders at our borders:

    A "letter of marque and reprisal" would involve permission to cross an international border to effect a reprisal (take some action against an attack or injury) authorized by an issuing jurisdiction to conduct reprisal operations outside its borders.

    I think we may be getting a tad sidetracked though. If you don't believe in defensive war, you don't believe in defensive war. You don't need the constitution to justify your position.

  • Libertymike||

    Yes, as an anarcho-free enterprise-individualist, who is devoted to the NAP, I do not need the constitution to justify my position.

  • ||

    Yes, as an anarcho-free enterprise-individualist, who is devoted to the NAP, I do not need the constitution to justify my position.

    You could have started out with that premise instead of going to the constitutional argument, which is a lot weaker. For better or worse, congress was entrusted with a lot of power in terms of war.

  • Xenocles||

    The war power of Congress is not limited except by any treaties properly ratified (and arguably the treaties also have to be in line with the Constitution). The Constitution does not limit war by region or motive, and it explicitly empowers Congress to borrow money limited only by the credit of the United States. You have no legal leg to stand on here. The law depends on having good people in government, which we pretty much all agree is a fatal weakness.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Where in the federal constitution is there authority for the state to make war in foreign lands?

    Article 1, Section 8

    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

  • Libertymike||

    Does it say foreign lands?

  • FYTW||

    It might be fruitful if you could explain why you think it needs to.

    The text authorizes Congress to declare war, full stop. It doesn't impose any location-based limitations on that authority. You're trying to read a "no unprovoked invasions of foreign lands" clause into the document where, however regrettably, none exists.

  • ||

    I wonder what the rules are for elective surgery/meds paid for by private funds for such prisoners? I mean, if there was a kickstarter campaign for the treatment,would the captors allow it to happen? I doubt it, but it would be interesting to see the arguments.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Okay.

  • sarcasmic||

    I get it! He couldn't afford to get gender reassignment surgery on his own, so he got himself put into prison so the taxpayers will pay for it! Genius!

  • AlexInCT||

    Waiting for some sicko to sya they would tap that.. Not me, I don't play that game...

  • sarcasmic||

    John would... No he wouldn't. Too skinny.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I actually was thinking how unmasculine he looked every time I saw the stock photo of him.

  • Tonio||

    Yes, Bradley Manning did have a sweet, boyish face. But that Navy SEAL dude who came out as trans looked like a totally butch stud in all the pics I saw. Go figure.

  • Greg Gauthier||

    I'll be the first to admit, "gender identity" - or rather, the notion that you could have a mental gender identity that differs from the physical body you occupy - is a concept around which I have been completely unable to wrap my tiny brain. It seems like the ultimate in contradictions of reality, to me.

    But, I will say this, if it gets Bradley Manning 35 years, instead of 60, more power to him.

  • Another David||

    The way I look at it, if I woke up and was suddenly in a female body, I'd still think of myself as a man. So there must be a line somewhere between physical gender and mental gender-identity. And given all the other ways for the brain to get fucked up, there's no reason to expect that those two will always match for everybody on the planet.

  • Tonio||

    Yes, but you're talking about a magical (ie, impossible), externally imposed transformation.

  • ||

    It doesn't matter that you can't wrap your brain around it. It matters that it happens. Can you wrap your brain around infinity? The heat of the sun? Ect. Not really- but they are what they are.

  • sgs||

    "It doesn't matter that you can't wrap your brain around it."

    It does when I'm paying for it.

  • Another David||

    Impossible? I know three different people who've gone to sleep as one physical gender and woken up as another. I mean, heavy anasthetic and surgery were involved, but still.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    None of them changed gender.

  • Tonio||

    Sorry, AD, the "suddenly" indicated to me that the experience was magical and unsought.

    And it's often a series of surgeries. And the surgery is just the culmination of a process that begins with the individual starting to identify as a person of the opposite sex (internally), then dressing and acting that way (for months or years), then a series of surgeries, legal name and gender changes, etc. Nothing sudden about that.

  • Tonio||

    Guys, I'm not hating on the TGs. (See my 10:44 below, and my consistent record of sticking up for them here.)

    Another David was clearly talking about a magical and unasked-for transformation. I was pointing out that this was impossible (since IMWV there is no magic) and as an imposed (rather than sought-out) experience, would be far different from the feelings of a TG individual.

    Please read for comprehension, and reserve your bile and spleen for those truly deserving of such.

  • sgs||

    I think it's just that you're a bad writer.

  • wwhorton||

    If I suddenly woke up in a female body I'd never leave the house, ZING!!!

    Try the veal!

  • AlexInCT||

    Depends, doesn't it? If you look like Bea Arthur and still thought of yourself as a dude, you might want to leave the house to cruise for other chicks.

    I have always told people I am a lesbian trapped in a man's body, because that's how much I love womyn...

  • ||

    Every other type of dysmorphia is treated as a mental illness. If it involves your naughty bits, suddenly it's an issue requiring surgical intervention to correct the perceived flaw.

    Not that I'm against elective surgery. I just find it kind of ironic from a medical ethics standpoint that sex reassignment is considered a legitimate way to deal with what is essentially a somatoform disorder. I couldn't imagine any doctor, say, recommending or performing gastric bypass for patients who aren't overweight because of their neurosis about their body and being taken even a little bit seriously by the rest of the medical profession.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    That is a great observation, PM.

  • Libertymike||

    Indeed.

  • Tonio||

    Or perhaps transgender individuals are the leading edge of a broader movement to do away with terms like "dysmorphia" and just let people do as they wish with their own bodies.

    I'm not (personally) comfortable with (for instance) people who believe they need to have prefectly healthy limbs amputated, but I'm not about to impose any restrictions on them. Better proper surgeries than self-amputations, or back alley amputations.

  • ||

    Oh don't get me wrong, I wouldn't stop them from doing so either, so long as they don't intend to pick my pocket in the process (which complicates Manning's case). I just think the medical ethics of sex reassignment are fairly out of step with other, similar types of disorders. It would be interesting to hear a rationale from someone in the medical profession.

  • ||

    Or perhaps transgender individuals are the leading edge of a broader movement to do away with terms like "dysmorphia" and just let people do as they wish with their own bodies.

    One can only hope.

  • AlexInCT||

    "Or perhaps transgender individuals are the leading edge of a broader movement to do away with terms like "dysmorphia" and just let people do as they wish with their own bodies."

    Negroplasty! Dolphinplasty!

  • wwhorton||

    Yeah, there is a sort of gravity given to gender reassignment and all that that you don't see in other situations. I think there's a really strong urge to out-sensitive each other in some cases when it comes to the transgender community that rivals even race issues. And that's fine and all, but I just worry sometimes that in the rush to not discriminate or hurt someone's feelings people maybe treat garden-variety emotional or behavioral disorders as a medical condition that should be treated by feeding into the neurosis.

    I mean, Jesus, there was a case in either Maryland or DC recently where a 5-year-old kid decided she wanted to be a boy because she liked trucks and swords and stuff. This being the DMV, the parents have apparently begun hormone blocking therapy and list the child's sex as Male. So, the "responsible adults" who are this kid's guardians left one of the most serious, life-altering decisions a person can make in the hands of a child that is younger than my shoes, and certainly wouldn't be considered capable of making any responsible decisions without guidance in any other regard. Now, if the kid decided she was really right-handed, would parents seriously consider brain surgery? Of course not, but there isn't a concern about discrimination against transhandedness.

    Again, I'm not saying there is no legitimacy to transgender issues, but I just think it's a little creepy that anything touching on gender issues immediately gets a stamp of approval.

  • ||

    The politics of it are fairly unsurprising in modern America where no grievance is left behind, but what surprises me is the ease with which the medical community has embraced such a radical physical intervention to address what is, at it's root, a psychological problem.

  • AlexInCT||

    I think they do it for the jokes that just write themselves....

  • sgs||

    "Every other type of dysmorphia is treated as a mental illness. "

    So are many other things that aren't mental illnesses.

  • ||

    So are many other things that aren't mental illnesses.

    I'm all for rejecting the creeping pathologizing of every unique behavior, but if rejecting a part or parts of your body to the point that it interferes with your ability to function and causes you mental distress doesn't meet some working definition of "mental illness", then nothing does.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    They (at least some) aren't just rejecting their body parts, they are rejecting reality. They aren't saying "I want to be a woman", which would be a stupid desire in my opinion but not crazy, they are saying "I am a woman."

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    This is an excellent point, but as of right now, there are no known and effective measures that can even reduce gender dysmorphia feelings other than SRS, which by the way is still pretty lousy in terms of outcomes.

    Gender is social. Realistically, no one fucking cares about your sex chromosomes, any more than the Germans look under a chair's skirt before they decide whether it's a die or a der.
    In that sense, gender dysmorphia's symptoms can be treated easily in controlled social circumstances. It's not that hard to change the way you treat someone, and living as your non-biological gender works great on a small scale among close friends. It's when the transperson has to interact with larger society that problems arise.

    Society says that to be treated as another gender in many circumstances--for example, what prison you go to--the social gender should match genitalia. That's not unreasonable, and in a sane world, transpeople should be thinking about that when they consider SRS instead of thinking they're fixing themselves. Unfortunately, grievance baiting and the desperate wish of these people to think they can fix their problems with a medical procedure conspire together to convince them that what they're doing is necessary and natural.

  • Harvard||

    So finding a surgeon to extend my crank a foot in order to win bar bets for drinks is probably not gonna happen?

  • Cassius||

    Well, unless you're a part of the neurodiversity moment.

  • Cassius||

    *Movement it's too early here.

  • Tonio||

    And be thankful for that, GG. The part about not being able to comprehend the feelings of transgendered individuals. I can't either, but I can get as far as the concept of a hellish existence.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't get it either.

  • Andrew S.||

    There is evidence that in some transgendered individuals, their brains are more similar to their "desired" gender than their "assigned" gender. There have been brain scans done of Male-to-Female transgenders that show brains similar to people who are born female, and there have been brain scans done of Female-to-Male transgenders that show brains similar to people who are born male.

    There's a fine line between those for whom it's a mental illness and those for whom it's a real, inborn desire. Not sure which side of the line Manning falls on, but it is something.

  • ||

    I have a real, inborn desire to fuck Scarlett Johanssen, but I don't expect US taxpayers to pick up the tab.

  • Libertymike||

    If I take the two of you out for dinner and then a movie, can I watch later?

  • AlexInCT||

    Wait a minute. I thought it was un-PC and worthy of excoriation to imply that there is some difference between the sexes?

    You are on real shakey ground here. The PC feminists are coming to get you now...

  • Auric Demonocles||

    The part I find the hardest to believe is people who aren't suffering from the disorder who think you should go along with it. Are we supposed to act like the guy who thinks he is Napoleon really is Emperor of France?

    I get it, people who are trans have brains that act more like the opposite gender than their own. That doesn't prove they are right; that proves there is a medical basis for their condition. The body isn't wrong, the brain is.

  • Another David||

    The problem is that the brain and body don't match. We can change the body, but we don't know how to flip that switch in the brain. So reassignment surgery gets the two in harmony and lets the person get on with his or her (her, in this case) life. What is wrong with that?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    First, it doesn't actually change the body to the gender they want to be. Just like plastic surgery wouldn't change him into Napoleon. But if the person really wants to do it, let them. It doesn't hurt anyone else.

    Acting like they are correct is stupid. No, you aren't a woman. You are a man. Just like you aren't Napoleon. Your brain accepting reality is the issue here.

  • ||

    But if the person really wants to do it, let them. It doesn't hurt anyone else.

    In cases where they are paying out of pocket for their surgery electively, I would have no quarrel with this statement. If I'm paying additional premiums so it can be covered by insurance, or if I'm footing the bill via taxes for the state to do it, my sympathy runs pretty short.

  • R C Dean||

    Thanks, PM. Saved me having to say that.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Well, yeah, I was talking about not physically preventing them from getting the surgery. Funding it for them is a different issue.

  • Another David||

    Do you go around on the street yelling "YOU'RE REALLY A BRUNETTE" when you see a dye job, too?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Well, I wouldn't know anyway, just like I don't yell at random people on the street "YOU'RE A MAN".

    But just because they managed to trick me doesn't change the truth. If someone got pissed at me for saying "Oh, she's actually a brunette" to someone who I know had bleached her hair I'd think they were stupid.

  • Tonio||

    managed to trick me

    It's not all about you, Auric. It's about them. They're not doing it to trick you, they're doing it for personal integrity.

  • sgs||

    "It's not all about you, Auric. It's about them. "

    And the same doesn't apply in reverse?

  • ||

    It's not all about you, Auric. It's about them. They're not doing it to trick you, they're doing it for personal integrity.

    One could argue they are trying to trick themselves, which is one of the more difficult feats to actually pull off.

  • T||

    No, I usually like to check the carpet to be sure before I start making accusations. It's only fair.

  • AlexInCT||

    What if they shave? Brazilian?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    The body isn't wrong, the brain is.

    I have a niece with anorexia. It does seem to have a lot of similarities.

  • Tony||

    It's only polite to refer to people in the manner they wish. Academics who aren't physicians go around getting called "Doctor So-and-So" all the time even though it's not really correct.

    Being "forced" to go along with someone's preferred gender identity isn't that much of an imposition, and is pretty much required of decent people in this day and age.

  • Leo||

    PhD's have better claim to the title "Doctor" than MDs do, MDs are the ones that hijacked it.

  • sgs||

    "Being "forced" to go along with someone's preferred gender identity isn't that much of an imposition,"

    Unless you own a business.

    "and is pretty much required of decent people"

    Moronic.

  • Xenocles||

    I suppose in either case it doesn't cost me anything to indulge the person. What does it matter to me if a person wants to be called he or she? Since I don't acknowledge royalty as having any power over me, it doesn't cost me anything to pretend the person is Napoleon.

    I remember a scene from Hornblower when he was sent to court a South American rebel who had gone insane and styled himself the deity "El Supremo." He insisted on a 22-gun salute (one more than a royal would rate) when he came aboard Hornblower's ship. In the end Hornblower reasons that since a 22-gun salute is meaningless in naval culture there was no reason not to go along with it. I sort of see these things the same way. It doesn't matter to me if your genitals match the persona you assume unless I'm interested in having sex with that persona. Being in a happy marriage that's no longer the case for virtually everyone on the planet, so what does it matter to me?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    It costs me being truthful.

  • Tonio||

    You're an asshole. Sorry, just being truthful.

  • sgs||

    And you have yet to make a coherent point that isn't just so much "gimme what i want now" childish stupidity.

    Sorry, just telling you about the sum total of your life.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    You aren't being truthful any more than the sub who refuses to call kids by their nicknames because that's not what's on the sheet. You're just being rude.

  • Xenocles||

    What's in a name? Do you insist on calling celebrities by their birth names rather than their stage or pen names because that's their "true name?"

    I'm not so sure that gender is as fixed a concept as to render one definition of it as Truth. You're not being asked to say there are five lights here.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You're not being asked to say there are five lights here.

    Yes I am.

  • Xenocles||

    The meaning of five is not flexible; the meaning of "female" is.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    No, it's not.

  • Xenocles||

    Then define it, and I'll show you exceptions.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Having two 'X' chromosomes.

  • Xenocles||

  • Cassius||

    Don't forget androgen insensitivity syndrome.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    It has two contexts, one describing biological sex, the other describing a social role. One is not the other.

    Gender can be changed by mutual consent of all members in a social encounter, but until we have genetic therapy and cloned organs, sex cannot.

  • Tonio||

    Are we supposed to act like the guy who thinks he is Napoleon really is Emperor of France?

    That's a personal choice, Auric. When I'm in that situation I gently humor the mentally ill, then do my best to avoid them. Costs me nothing to do so and doing otherwise wouldn't yield any good results.

  • T||

    So, shun the transgendered? I like it! I'll start immediately.

    Oh, wait, I don't know anyone who's trans. So I guess I already am shunning, albeit unintentionally.

  • Jon Lester||

    Yes, it's a difficult concept, but it's obviously real, because people do it, and I know a few, myself.

    If you're into video game history, you might find the Jamie Faye Fenton story interesting.

  • Nando||

    seriously, who didn't see this coming.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Are You There, Julian? It's Me, Chelsea

  • ||

    +100 retroactive rapes

  • Libertymike||

    "I'm sorry Chelsea, but I've made plans with Eddie and Glenn tonight."

  • Hugh Akston||

    Still waiting on the Jezebel thread on this turn of events.

  • Tonio||

    You had to go there.

  • Loki||

    She may end up finding herself as the face of another battle...

    Maybe I'm just overly cynical, but is it not at least concievable that's what he/she/it/whatever really wants? To be the center of attention? I mean, he/she/it/whatever waits until the trial is over and the media is about to move on to the next shiny object to make this announcement? And we're supposed to believe that this is what he/she/it/whatever really wanted all along? Sorry, not buying it.

    Although I guess any doubt about whether or not he/she/it/whatever will be pitching or catching has been put to rest. SLD: NTTAWWT.

  • Tonio||

    Perhaps it is narcissism, perhaps not. I'm not one to claim to be able to read the innermost thoughts of others based on media accounts.

    But it's noteworth how much effort you put into typing "he/she/it/whatever" multiple times. "It" is wholly inappropriate and dehumanizing.

  • Tonio||

    "noteworthy"

  • SweatingGin||

    Tonio: on pronouns, do you have an opinion the more, uh, exotic ones? ie, the types you see on Tumblr SJW sites?

  • Tonio||

    Nope, not familiar with those. But probably humor them as per my 11:22 post above.

  • Loki||

    But it's noteworth how much effort you put into typing "he/she/it/whatever" multiple times.

    Copy and paste.

    "It" is wholly inappropriate and dehumanizing.

    Admittedly I might have gone a little over the top there. My apologies. If only there was an edit button...

    Like others have mentioned, I don't really "get" the whole transgender/ feel like the opposite gender of one's physical gender thing. Not that I care one way or the other about what other people do to their bodies. As long as they're not hurting anyone, hey, go nuts (or no nuts, whatever).

  • R C Dean||

    I mean, he/she/it/whatever waits until the trial is over and the media is about to move on to the next shiny object to make this announcement?

    (1) As a matter of trial tactics, I can completely see wanting to keep this out of court (even indirectly).

    (2) My understanding is that this was essentially leaked, and Manning's "announcement" was a way of dealing with the leak.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood

    Does that mean wanting to play with dolls, have tea parties, sit down to pee or what? Did his penis "feel" like a tumor? What exactly does a transgender child miss about not being the gender in his mind? Not hating on Manning, I really don't get it.

  • Tonio||

    Why don't you ask an actual TG person, then? In my experience, most of them are perfectly happy to answer questions as long as those questions are phrased in a respectful fashion, and you treat them with dignity. (See Loki, above, for an example of what not to do).

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Why don't you ask an actual TG person, then?

    Because I don't know any. That's why I asked here.

  • ||

    That's why I asked here.

    You were just trying to ensnare Warty and it won't work. He transcends gender. Which I guess kind of makes him a trans-gender...

  • Tonio||

    I honestly don't know about the whole body dysmorphia thing. Not in a position to ask anyone that question in a useful time frame for this thread.

    And AFAIK, nobody here is TG.

  • wwhorton||

    I went to school with someone who started off as a girl and then had a sex change. We weren't really tight enough for me to start asking a lot of personal questions about it, but I do remember that she was real, real awkward as a teenager (like more than normal) and tried being a lesbian unsuccessfully. When I subsequently ran into him at a Christmas party, he definitely just looked like a normal dude and seemed really comfortable in his own skin. I guess it's just one of those things where you look in the mirror and don't see the person you think you are in your head, like when you hear about people with weight issues who say they feel trapped inside their own bodies.

    I mean, I don't care what people do, but I do wonder how much of this is related to cultural baggage around gender roles. Other societies have sort of a third category of females who act and are treated like men, and vice versa, or who are sort of a "third sex", which seems to cover the space that transgender does in the West. They don't seem to need the parts to match. But, again, it's none of my business what people do, so follow your bliss, man. Or woman.

  • Harvard||

    [We weren't really tight enough for me..]

    Have you called recently?

  • ||

    Do people who have gender reassignment surgery have any functional sex organs?

  • Loki||

    I think it depends on your definition of functional. Functional as in able to have sex, I think the answer is yes. Functional as in able to have have children, I'm pretty sure the answer is no.

  • Tonio||

    M2F transitional surgery (specifically, vaginoplasty) yields results which are functional for the act of intercourse. The testicles are removed. Ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterii do not magically appear, so no reproduction.

    F2M transitional surgery is far less common because the results are not...satisfactory. Even absent genital surgery hysterectomies are generally done, so again no babies.

  • ||

    Not to get too graphic, but I don't understand how M2F could work sexually without testicles. Wouldn't that be equivalent to castration and thus loss of all sexual desire/gratification?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Doesn't it coincide with a bunch of hormone therapy?

  • Tonio||

    The most important sex organ is the brain.

    Even impotent old men still check out the young girls, look at porn, etc.

    It's not like some magical transformation, ie "The Hot Chick", but it's more about not having a penis than having a factory-spec vagina.

  • ||

    Impotence isn't the same as being a eunuch though.

  • Tonio||

    No, but for purposes of this discussion there is no functional difference.

  • JeremyR||

    Old men are usually only impotent because of the way old women look

  • SugarFree||

    Certain ligaments can be severed to allo the clitoris to protrude further out of labia hood (which is also trimmed, much like a circumcision) and the natural engorgement of sexual desire can create a small erection. Of course, you can not ejaculate with an enlarged clitoris, so it might just be an appearance issue.

    Fewer FtM are opting for surgery other than the removal of the breasts at this stage of medical science.

  • MissMalevolent||

    Very true that this could be a bid for more attention.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Very true that this could be a bid for more attention.

    I don't see how it can be construed as anything but seeking attention, even if it is merely to have others validate what she sees as her "self".

  • Tonio||

    Just for Manning, or for all TG individuals?

  • Andrew S.||

    Except that this has been talked about since the story first broke. Both by some of his supporters (using it to explain his actions) and some of his detractors.

  • sarcasmic||

    Can't turn an X into a Y.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    A is A.

  • Xenocles||

    It's funny, it wasn't so long ago that I was saying that we couldn't have same sex marriage because marriage is by definition between one man and one woman. Most of our definitions do not rise to the level of natural law; they are tools that apply only to a particular time and place's understanding - which is subject to change.

  • Tonio||

    I'm reading this that you've changed your position, Xenocles. Congrats on that. It's difficult to change long-held beliefs.

  • Xenocles||

    It is and it isn't. In my experience the change is nearly instantaneous, like a switch flips in your brain and the new paradigm takes hold and the old one doesn't work anymore. I'm sure there's a lot of processing that takes place on either side of the switch that's hard to detect consciously.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    When the gender reassignment is performed, how do they take away reason and accountability?

  • bmp1701||

    Considering that Manning wants to have his nuts lopped off, reason may already be gone.

  • R C Dean||

    Marginally relevant:

    One of the physicians in a group I used to work with started life male, went pretty damn far down the reassignment path (not sure how far, really, but far enough that (s)he presented and was treated as female), then changed hir mind and went back to presenting and being treated as male. Pretty sure this all involved hormone therapy, not sure how much, if any, surgery was actually performed.

  • R C Dean||

    I should mention that I quit worrying about anti-gay bigotry as a widespread, deepseated phenomenon when the rather large group of older, male, conservative, abrasive physicians decided to hire hir, never said a peep about all this, and was actually pretty supportive right through re-reversal.

  • Tonio||

    I have a former friend who started down that road, and then changed his mind. He only got as far as dressing up (thankfully). Both the counseling and trans communities recommend that people do this as a long process with the reversible decisions done first and for a long time, then the irreversible decisions as culmination.

  • JeremyR||

    There was a early computer game designer, famous (sort of) for creating the game M.U.L.E. that had surgery to become a woman, then later regretted it.

  • Leo||

  • Outlaw||

    Chelsea Womynning*

  • Robert||

    I'm still not used to Deirdre McCloskey. Can I just call her D. McC? Or Dr. McC?

  • Anomalous||

    Woke up to news of "Chelsea" Manning, a guy who wants to be a chick
    He is doing time in prison, and no longer wants his dick

  • Captain Kirk||

    Wow, haha. That little fruitcake is no Edward Snowden.

    Believing in an individuals right to choose their sexual identity does not mean condoning it as an acceptable practice. That boy has serious mental problems.

  • Earl Grey, Hot||

    Are you kidding me with this article?

    "Reason.com" MUST change its name if the author of this article seriously expects us to suspend reason in order take any of this seriously. Reason means the acceptance of truth and facts, and no matter how badly a man born with a penis and testicles and a Y chromosome wants to be the opposite, it doesn't make it so.

    THAT is Reason. And until he legally changes his name to Chelsea, he shouldn't be referred to it.

  • Federale||

    Note that even though Bradley Manning wants to be a woman, he is not a woman and can never be a woman. Sex is based on genetics and science, not how Bradley Manning feels. You cannot accurately refer to him as "her." It is scientifically inaccurate to do so. So much for libertarians adhering to science or facts. You have just as much a fantasy life about public policy as leftists.

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