By now, everyone who reads the newspapers, watches TV or listens to the radio knows of Bradley Manning. Or at least they did until recently. Bradley was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents. But he won't be serving out his time. Instead, Chelsea Bradley, his transgender self, will be doing the time.
Okay, this gets a bit more complicated but hang on. née Bradley, now Chelsea, has requested that she be referred to and treated as a woman. But, interestingly enough, she's going to be doing her time in the men's facility at Fort Leavenworth
Now even in referring to Manning, there should be some kind of rules so that we treat this individual (or is is duo) with respect. And guess what, there are.
The AP's stylebook tells editors and writers to "use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly."
So, I suspect, based on Manning's request, she's going to be referred to as Chelsea and as a woman.
But why then is she not going into the female prison? Could it be that she hasn't started hormone therapy?
Speaking of which, who's going to be paying for this? If you want some history to go on, there's the case for Michelle Kosilek, an inmate in Massachusetts, who successfully sued but continues to fight for the right for sex-reassignment surgery as prescribed by her prison doctors. Not providing the recommended care for a trans inmate could arguably be considered cruel or unusual punishment.
Interesting precedent. We may be finding ourselves facing a similar situation with Chelsea. We'll just have to see.
So confusion reins supreme in the news these days. But hey, I believe in giving respect to others. If they wish to be known as something other than they are, that's generally their business. We let Rafael 'Ted' Cruz call himself an American as opposed to what he really is, a Canadian-American. He's allowed to live with his choice. I guess that means the former Bradley, now Chelsea, should be allowed to live with hers as well.