Thursday, August 22, 2013

Call Her "Chelsea Manning"

Bradley Chelsea Manning, from MSNBC
Since I'm a gay man, people I know who are not will often think that my encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture extends to the entire LGBTQQIA alphabet. It doesn't. Yes, I'm nearly as clueless about the "trans" part of the alphabet soup as you are. But that's okay. The truth is, if we totally "got it," we'd be trans, right?

I have learned a couple of things though, mostly through online communications, since my first-hand knowledge of the subject really is limited to drag queens, and though they can look similar, they aren't the same. First and foremost: trans people's concerns tend to be ignored, minimized and dismissed even within the LGBT community. It's very easy to be declared "trans-phobic" because we Ls and Bs and Gs are kind of clueless about what it's like to have an issue with gender identity. Being attracted to the same gender isn't the same as feeling as though you're a different gender from your body.

While everyone in the LGBT category is sexually--in some way--different from your standard issue heterosexual, we aren't all faced with the same issues. So, when I'm asked--and I will be--what I think of WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning changing his name to Chelsea, and declaring himself an M-to-F trans person? Nope, I don't really get it. But I know better to question her, because it's out of my experience. We have no reason to disbelieve her, and she's really not got much to gain by putting on a ruse. And if she goes through with gender-reassignment surgery? In my opinion, a person does that is certain about what gender they're supposed to be. Nobody would go through that on a whim.

So, good luck, Chelsea. And to any trans-people out there who might read this, know that I may have goofed in my terminology somewhere, and may have transitioned my gender-specific pronouns at the wrong point in what I've written, but I'm on your side!

‘I am Chelsea Manning’

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said in a statement read during an exclusive TODAY show interview with lawyer David Coombs. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way I have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.”

Read more at: MSNBC

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