August 27, 2013


This is one of the most interesting clips I've seen on the Bradley/Chelsea Manning case. In it, Amy Goodman interviews two trans activists. And bless Amy's heart, she seems to be wrestling with the correct pronoun in an attempt be super-correct towards Bradley who is now to be known as Chelsea. One pundit is Lauren McNamara, a pen pal of Manning before the leaks. (Using the last name only is a foolproof way to include both make and female names!) Lauren looks exactly like an attractive young woman (even with no make-up!) yet sounds a bit like a nerdy boy. The second is a lawyer with the ACLU who appears to be a quirky, dapper twink, but is actually female-to-male transsexual who still sounds a little feminine. I know that it doesn't matter how much you look or sound like the sex you are transitioning into, it's about how transsexuals feel as opposed to a physical characteristic which possibly can't change. This is a subject which even many gays don't fully understand even though transsexuals are included under the GLBT umbrella. But in this case, it's more important to get around how this young woman and man present themselves and focus on what they are saying. It's both mind-blowing and revolutionary. Most of us have never bothered to think about what happens when someone transgendered goes to jail. But a member of that community who many regard as a hero is about to be sentenced to an all-male military prison. Is this fair? Does she deserve hormone therapy while locked up? If prison is a punishment, how much should prisons deliver what inmates want? How much should we care about what a convicted criminal wants? I think we're going to hear a lot more of this dialogue. What's outrageous to me is what a powder keg this case has unleashed by Chelsea's, who has completely refuted so many of our belief systems. Manning has shaken the world up by saying I reject the secrecy of the military and all of it's honor codes which protect internal rape and harassment, I reject what our government is doing overseas (like the senseless murder of civilians, woman, children and journalists) and by the way, please refer to me as a woman now. Oh, and PS: If you send me to a men's prison, ya better have some hormones to treat my gender dysphoria or there will be legal action. I'm fairly familiar with the trans community but am trying to imagine the heads exploding of republicans or even traditional (ie backward) democrats who are watching this clip. I'm sure conservatives would think the freaks are now running the show if these are the two experts booked to discuss the largest intelligence leak in US history. To quote Lauren: "Well, this puts her at an incredible risk of assault, rape, all sorts of violence that are often already present in all-male prisons. And to think that you would put a woman into the midst of all that, just for purely anatomical reasons, is absolutely absurd and dangerous and completely irresponsible and contrary to any sensible ethic." In other words, it's absurd to put Chelsea in a man's prison just because she has a penis. More Lauren: "The media needs to respect her just as they would respect any woman. They need to respect this treatment just as they would respect any medically necessary treatment. There is not an other side of this, from a scientific or medical perspective. There is not dissent here. There is not a debate here. And anyone who acts as though this is not legitimate, as if this is not real, as if this is not a medical necessity, is simply uninformed and should not have a place in any discussion over this." If I may paraphrase Lauren: If you don't understand transgender issues and medical necessities, you're too dumb to speak on or decide on this. So sit down! I think we need to listen to these people. They've reinvented themselves and are shaking up gender roles and a whole lot more in the process. I don't think conventional wisdom can apply here. I'm not sure how to describe this, but it feels like these re-born creatures are tearing down some of the mistakes made by a male-run and male-dominated society. I think it's clear to most of us that the world is off-course. So let's check out anyone who may be offering the answer. They certainly seem to be of a higher level of awareness than most.