Dear NPR: Please Name and Gender Chelsea Manning Correctly.
This is basic human decency and it isn’t hard.
To: NPR Spokeswoman Anna Bross <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Tim Maly
Re: Please name and gender Chelsea Manning correctly.
I am deeply disappointed to read in the NYT that NPR’s policy will be to call Chelsea Manning ‘Bradley’ and refer to her as a ‘he’.
National Public Radio will continue for now to refer to Private Manning as “he,” according to a spokeswoman, Anna Bross. “Until Bradley Manning’s desire to have his gender changed actually physically happens, we will be using male-related pronouns to identify him,” she said.
You don’t get to be the arbiter of what her gender is. She does. Though I greatly appreciate the reporting of your organization, you certainly aren’t qualified medical experts, so why are you making up some medical line that she much cross before you respect her wishes?
People change names and identities all the time. If she had gotten married and changed her last name to Smith would you insist on still calling her Manning? Do your reporters talk about film star Nicolas Kim Coppola or do they talk about Nick Cage? When Prince became Ƭ̵̬̊ (sorry, that’s the best I could do) did you insist on calling him Nelson?
I appreciate that there may be some period of confusion for your listeners and readers. When a friend of mine took his wife’s last name it was a little confusing for me too. You know what’s more confusing? Being transgender in a culture with transphobic attitudes writ large and small.
This is a small thing and you can fix this.
Yours very truly,