English: Bradley Manning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Maureen O’Connor | New York Magazine | Reader Supported News | August 24, 2013
The morning after the WikiLeaker formally known as Pfc. Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in military prison, the convict issued a public statement: “As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am female.” Chelsea is seeking hormone therapy and has one 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).”
Most news outlets who wrote about that request denied it. “He intends to live out the remainder of his life as a woman,” both Today and USA Today reported. “Bradley Manning says he wants to live as a woman,” the Associated Press announced. CNN, ABC News, the Boston Globe, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, Politico, the Telegraph, the Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times* used masculine pronouns. The Washington Post only used proper nouns, a tactic the Times used last year in a profile of transgender performer Justin Vivian Bond, who prefers the pronoun v. Reuters, the Guardian, and the Daily Mail used female pronouns, as did Daily Intelligencer.
Why is it so hard for people to type an extra s when they write about Manning? We updated our nomenclature for “Snoop Lion” and “the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” “Ali Lohan” and “Lil’ Bow Wow” became “Aliana” and “Bow Wow” to reflect personal growth. We accept typographical requests from branded products like iPhone, PowerPoint, and eHarmony – and from branded humans like Ke$ha, A$AP Rocky, and ‘N Sync. (The last being unusual even without the asterisk.) The idiosyncrasies of capitalism, apparently, are more compelling than a human’s self-professed gender.