Less than a day after being sentenced, the convicted WikiLeaker formerly known as Pfc. Bradley Manning announced “I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” and asked the world to “refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.” Like many outlets, the Associated Press and the New York Times reported that news but continued using masculine pronouns. Now after mulling things over for four days, both news agencies have announced that they’ll begin honoring Manning’s request on Tuesday.
The outlets’ stylebooks say editors should use the pronoun preferred by the individual, but they held off on using “she” due to technicalities. (Or as The Cut’s Maureen O’Connor suggested, they were “just stubborn.”) While Manning’s request was read on the Today show in the presence of her lawyer, the AP said last week that it was “seeking more details about the gender change statement.” A memo released on Monday evening says the AP agreed to the switch after reading a second statement and double checking with the lawyer. Per Politico:
The Associated Press will henceforth use Pvt. Chelsea E. Manning and female pronouns for the soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning, in accordance with her wishes to live as a woman …
Manning’s statement was reiterated, with additional detail, in a blog posting ((http://www.armycourtmartialdefense.info/) and an interview with The Associated Press on Monday by defense attorney David E. Coombs.
The Times stylebook says the transgender person’s preferred pronouns should be used “unless a former name is newsworthy or pertinent,” which editors said definitely applied to Manning. Public editor Margaret Sullivan suggested last week that “given Ms. Manning’s preference, it may be best to quickly change to the feminine and to explain that — rather than the other way around.” Apparently Times editors weren’t ready to heed that simple advice at the time.