Chelsea Manning's name and pronouns need respect, not clarification

Yesterday, after Private Chelsea Manning came out publicly as a transgender woman, many media outlets failed to refer to her accurately with the correct name and pronouns. GLAAD assembled resources for the media to improve their coverage, yet still, some outlets are claiming that the issue of how to refer to Manning is unclear. This is simply not the case.

In her letter, Manning stated that she would like to be referred to with the name Chelsea, and with female pronouns (she/her/hers). Adhering to her wishes is not only respectful, it is also in line with the standards of the Associated Press Stylebook, which has addressed fair reporting on transgender people for more than a decade with the following guideline:

Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. ... If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.

Because Chelsea Manning wrote a now widely-circulated letter asking to be referred to with a specific name and with female pronouns, and because this AP guideline exists, there should not be confusion or entire articles speculating as to which name and pronouns should be used to refer to Chelsea.

In addition to using the correct name and pronouns, reporting on Chelsea Manning also provides a space to discuss the specific issues facing transgender people in prison, and those facing transgender people in the military. These are complicated topics that are addressed by different organizations respectively.

For more information about the issues facing transgender people who are incarcerated, contact the Transgender Law Center, Just Detention, or the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.

For more information about transgender people serving in the military, contact SPART*A, or see the new web series TransMilitary.