Reporting on Chelsea Manning with consistent respect for her gender identity

UPDATED May 9, 2017: GLAAD has published a full tip sheet for journalists reporting on Chelsea Manning's gender identity as she is released from prison.

UPDATED January 17, 2017:  President Obama announced he will commute Chelsea Manning's sentence, with her release scheduled for May 17, 2017. In news stories, please use the guidelines below to report respectfully on Manning.

Originally published August 22, 2013: Private First Class Manning, the U.S. soldier who was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison on charges of leaking classified government documents, has come out publicly as a transgender woman. In a letter shared by her lawyer, Manning has asked to be referred to as Chelsea and with female pronouns.

'As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.'

Notes for media covering this story:

  • It is imperative that media outlets reporting on Chelsea Manning's announcement are respectful of her gender identity.
  • The charges and verdict against her, as well as the U.S. Army's policy denying transgender-related healthcare to inmates, are not a justification for misgendering, or resorting to stereotypes about transgender women.
  • All references to Manning should refer to her as Chelsea and use female pronouns, as is consistent with the AP Style Book guidelines. If necessary, a clarifying sentence may be used which explains that Manning was referred to as "Bradley Manning" during the trial.

GLAAD's Media Reference Guide provides specific information for journalists reporting on transgender people and issues.

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