Are Rumors Accused WikiLeaks Source Bradley Manning Is Transgender Behind Harsh Treatment?
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If the chat logs are true, then the Manning scared of being publicly perceived “as [a] boy” is being doubly humiliated with this treatment, since as the APA’s diagnostic manual makes clear, gender incongruence is marked by “a significantly increased risk of suffering, such as distress or disability” with assigned-at-birth sex. If Manning is genuinely transgender, then such body dysphoria would mean that daily forced nudity would constitute a form of torture.
Regardless, at this point, even as more evidence mounts up, Manning’s putative identity remains largely speculation — just as Manning's “guilt” itself remains a matter of speculation until we have a trial. Sandeen suggests that at this point, it remains premature to discuss Manning in these terms: “If he started asking to be called by a female name, or be housed with the female prisoners, well then it’s germane to the story, but it’s not at this point. [. . ] I don’t think it should be discussed at this point unless it becomes part of the story, and a significant part of the story at that.”
That there is such a heavy focus on Manning's psyche in the first place shows the skewed nature of the debate around WikiLeaks. As Greenwald has made clear, ”the numerous acts of corruption, deceit and criminality Manning allegedly exposed are ignored or even sanctioned, while the only punished criminal is -- as usual -- the one who courageously brought those acts to light.”
So it is not surprising that after over a year, the rumors surrounding Manning remain. Though Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is soon to disappear, transgender service people will remain still officially unable to serve in the military--a situation that may see transbaiting become the new queerbaiting. Whether or not Bradley Manning actually turns out to be transgender, this may only be the start of the story.
Emily Manuel is editor-in-chief at GlobalComment.com and a freelance writer.