Chelsea Manning is a She

STORY BY Holly Ramos

Published: August 26, 2013

I am very lucky to have had the good fortune of having a close friend who happens to be transgender. One day we lay swinging together in her hammock in the back yard of her East Village Apartment, enjoying the lovely day and each other’s company. At some point our long and meandering conversation came around to penises and I made a commented about them and she, agreeing with me, said, “I know, and I have one!”

There was a silent pause before I remembered that she indeed did. I knew quite well that she had been born with male sex organs but at that moment I had completely forgotten about that because she was a she to me. After the pause we both laughed hysterically together about my brilliant forgetfulness.

Studies have proven that a fantastic way to lessen racism is to have positive exposure to members of other races. The more often we experience human beings that we perceive as “others” as actually more like us, the less we feel separate from them, yes?

I am going to take liberty here with that study and suggest that this technique could work with all isms and could heal all issues where hate, discrimination and prejudice may exist. If you have a closed mind around transgender people, please feel free to live vicariously through me and allow my positive experiences to open it up. Or go see a good film on the subject, Transamerica maybe? Or go make new friends, talk to people.  Easier said than done, I know, but let’s try. A pretty basic and great principle I would love to see embraced more is that we all get to self identify.

That being said, many major news outlets are not respecting Chelsea, formerly known as Bradley, Manning’s request, to be called “Chelsea” and to be referred to by the pronoun “she”. I urge them to please get politically correct and show some respect and correct their practices.

Kudos to The Huffington Post and every other outlet using the name Chelsea and the pronoun she. Kudos to NPR for correcting its policy. As NPR's Managing Editor for Standards and Practice Stu Seidel so elegantly put it, “Army Private Manning's request to no longer be known as ‘Bradley’ is one NPR should respect. We allow people to decide what they want to be called. Manning asks to be called ‘Chelsea.’…Manning also asked to be referred to as ‘she,’ not ‘he.’ That request gets into many questions of defining an individual's gender that we feel are best left to the person in question, so long as we are telling a complete story.” That is what respect looks like. Pretty simple.

Who better to decide how a person should be identified than the person his or her self. Let freedom ring.


Other Stories by Holly Ramos
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