photo cred: Joe Mazza at Brave Lux

Gender Warriors in Support of Chelsea Manning

by Malic White, 2013

MW: If you support Chelsea Manning in her release of restricted government documents, could you please come on stage?

MW instructs audience members to assume a plank position. MW, KC, LU and audience members assume a plank position.

LU: The plank is an isometric core strength exercise that involves maintaining a difficult position for extended periods of time. If you practice —

LU, KC, MW: It’s not that hard.

KC: Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison after releasing the largest set of restricted documents ever leaked to the public. She has asked President Obama to change her sentence to “time served.”

LU: The current world record for the plank position is 3 hours, 7 minutes and 15 seconds. The record was set by George Hood, who is a former Marine. People call him a hero.

KC: People call Chelsea Manning a traitor.

LU: People call Chelsea Manning “Bradley” and “he,” even after she released a statement in 2013 specifically asking to be called “Chelsea” and “she.”

KC, LU, MW: It’s not that hard.

MW: Two minutes is not enough time to address the bigger issues. We could talk about government secrecy or how the U.S. prison system is basically government-funded housing for marginalized people or how a military prison responded to Chelsea Manning’s suicide attempt by placing her in solitary confinement.

LU: But let’s start with something basic.

KC: Let’s start with the name Chelsea.

LU: Let’s start with the pronoun “she.”

KC: Let’s practice: Chelsea. She.

LU, KC, MW: Chelsea. She.

LU: The plank provides a base for all forms of exercise.

KC: Referring to a transgender person by the right name and pronoun is the most basic sign of respect.

LU, KC, MW: It’s not that hard.

MW: And people who still won’t use her chosen name can’t handle the fact that one of the greatest threats to government secrecy and control is one of our people — a gender warrior whose very identity threatens political and social organization.

LU: But really, who would be better for the job?

KC watches the stop watch until it hits 2 minutes.

KC: Time!

All drop out of plank.


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