By Rod Bastanmehr
August 22, 2013
One day after being sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning announced he would henceforth live a a woman, no doubt a challenging path to pursue while serving a long prison sentence.
Early this morning, Manning’s lawyer appeared on the Today show to read an exclusive statement from Manning announcing that he is slated to begin hormone therapy in a push towards gender reassignment, and would like to be referred to as Chelsea Manning by the media at large, and with feminine pronouns. This comes, of course, a week after the Army released a black-and-white photo (or, as the young ones call it, a #selfie) of Manning in wig and make-up as part of Manning’s defense case documents. The photo was leaked to the press, and has since added an entirely new dimension to Manning’s case, namely the role that the army played in Manning’s own narrative of self-discovery, with army private Paul Adkins expressing a belief that Manning viewed a career in the military as the chance to “get rid of [gender questioning] .”
With his trial over, and sentence determined, speculation will inevitably turn to how gender reassignment will go for Manning in prison. Manning’s lawyer has said that his client plans to pursue hormone therapy on-site, even though Fort Leavenworth doesn’t offically provide therapy or sex-reassignment surgery on site (Manning has said he is not pursuing sexual reassignment surgery, for now). The leaked photo may have possibly made a significant dent in showing the level of emotional and psychological stress Manning was under while she was in the military, [that the subject line of the email Manning sent containing the photo read “My Problem” says it all.)
Engaging in typical masculine (or, in the case of the army, culturally “hyper-masculine”) behavior and endeavors as a way of combating the personal and psychological toll that comes with questioning one’s gender, is, according to transgendered author Jennifer F. Boylan, typical. As she wrote in a piece written yesterday for Psychology Today, “Many of trans women—like Manning—immerse themselves in super-masculine activities in an attempt to shake off their inner sense of womanhood. As is the case with virtually all women born trans, ‘immersion therapy; didn’t cure [Manning’s] problem; it only made things worse.”
Manning’s statement is a provocative one for a culture that is still attempting to sort out its more complicated opinions regarding the Manning case, and it is also a powerful show of progress and personal growth. Yet there is something strange in the way Manning’s announcement is being used as a justification for what are, largely, acts of protest that should be sparking more moral outrage than we’ve been seeing. Manning’s struggle with gender identity definitely colors the nuances of the case by citing a trend in the culture that explains Manning’s more complicated relationship with the Army, but the debate regarding the leak isn’t illuminated any further. And of course, the war crimes that Manning exposed, aren’t even being discussed. What we need is an understanding that Manning may have broken the law, but with the intention to reveal what are far more egregious crimes. That is a discussion that is not happening. His struggles with gender dysphoria are another matter, and an important one at that.
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/21-7
The following is a rush transcript by Common Dreams of the statement made by Pfc. Bradley Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference on Wednesday following the announcement of his 35-year prison sentence by a military court:
The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.
In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.
Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.
Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.
As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.
If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.
By Anna Almendrala Posted: 08/21/2013
A transgender woman was found dead in her Fontana, Calif. home Tuesday, and witnesses say they saw the suspect take clothes, a computer and the victim’s car to get away.
Police found Domonique Newburn’s body at around 4:30 p.m. after responding to domestic disturbance reports. Inside, they came across a grisly scene: there was blood on the porch and the door was left wide open, reports CBS Los Angeles. The position of Newburn’s body also indicated to investigators that she appeared to be trying to escape through a front window before she died, reports KTLA in the video above.
Now Fontana police are on the hunt for Newburn’s car, a black 2004 Mercedes C240, hoping it will lead to the suspect seen leaving her apartment. The license plate is 7AAY925 and the suspect was described as a “bare-chested” African American man in his late 20s or early 30s, reports CBS Los Angeles.
The San Bernardino County coroner’s office said that Newburn had sustained trauma and was pronounced dead at 4:38 p.m. An autopsy to determine cause of death is pending.
Newburn was an actress on a 2010 web reality series called “Hollywood Houseboys,” a show about four gay friends trying to make it in the entertainment industry. On the show’s site, Newburn wrote that she was born “Daymond” but began cross dressing when she was 22 years old. She also wrote that she was beginning hormone shots and hoped to have gender reassignment surgery and “be the first trans-gender to one day have a hit song on iTunes.”
Ryan Hope, executive producer of the show, released this statement to The Huffington Post:
We are all deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our sister, Domonique Newburn. Domonique was an amazing person whose spirit transcended gender. When we set-out to document our lives for reality-television…we never once wished to make headlines like this. Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences are with her family.
Fontana Police are asking that anyone with information about the case contact them.
By James Nichols Posted: 08/20/2013
A horrifying new video hit the web this weekend, documenting what appears to be a brutal attack on a Russian transgender woman by five men after she had allegedly been ambushed in a public park.
In the video, the victim is repeatedly beaten and kicked over the entirety of her head and body while being dragged around the park by the men for several minutes, at one point by her underwear. The title of the video reportedly translates roughly to a reference of the transgender woman as a “homosexual” and then continues by saying “view from 16 years old.” It is unclear whose age to which the number 16 refers.
The woman appears to escape towards the end of the video and the viewer can then see one of the men rifling through the contents of her purse. At least one bystander is present throughout the attack, though no attempt is made to stop the men.
This terrifying video is unfortunately not the first of its kind to emerge following Russia’s passage of anti-gay “propaganda” legislation. As previously reported, a disturbing trend among Russian social media involves anti-gay and anti-trans Russian hate groups luring young gay and trans individuals through the Internet into a real life meeting. The self-proclaimed “vigilantes” then beat, torture and humiliate the young victims while filming the attack, and then post the video on popular Russian social media sites.
Russia’s violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and state-sanctioned discrimination through anti-gay “propaganda laws” have come under international scrutiny over the past several months. This cross-cultural backlash against the country is has gained even more attention due to the imminent approach of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and claims that LGBT athletes, attendees and coaches will be held accountable to the country’s anti-LGBT legislation during the games.
(WARNING: Contains Graphic Imagery)
If the video above is unavailable, a slideshow of several screenshots is provided below.
by: Nancy Feldman
Aug. 20, 2013
Creative Commons Permission
Whoever is doing Councilwoman Alisa Chan’s damage control needs a lesson on ‘how-to.’ You may remember Chan as the embattled San Antonio politician who was secretly recorded by an ex-staffer last week while gay bashing. She was heard on audio saying comments like she believes being gay is a choice and that gay people should not be allowed to adopt children.
In her first statement regarding the gaffe, if you can call it that, her office released a statement Monday morning wherein Chan had this to say:
“The comments from the staff meeting on May 21 were and are my personal opinions and thoughts as guaranteed to me by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is unfortunate that a former member of my District 9 Council team betrayed the trust of my staff members and me. I will fight, I will always fight for our freedom of speech especially in a private setting. I plan to hold a press conference this week to address this issue.”
At today’s press conference things went from bad to worse for Chan. She offered no apology for her comments but instead said; “Political correctness will not win the day.” She also said when talking about “them” being disgusting, was in reference to pedophilia and bestiality.
Glad she cleared that up.
Chan continued chirping away while this little ditty came spewing out of her; ”I stand strong in my First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech and our right to privacy. As an immigrant, I consider this to be the greatest privilege of being a U.S. citizen.”
I guess when Chan was studying up on the Constitution she missed somethings like not all speech is free. Actually what she did say during working tax paying salary hours is not free speech. It’s not a platform she is running on or a conversation in private with a friend, therefore, not free speech. It’s just plain old hate speech.
With San Antonio being the number one city for LGBT families makes me wonder why someone who is so outspoken about not liking ‘them’, why do they continue to work and live there? Surely there must be some horrible area where more bigots live that would be more appropriate. The way things are going for Chan it’s only a matter of time before she is ousted, thankfully.
People like Chan are the exact reason San Antonio needs a non-discrimination-ordinance. The measure, which is expected to pass, would ban discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.
It won’t however stop racists from booing and thumping their bibles at an openly gay war hero who was at a council meeting to talk about how important the NDO is for LGBT and our military. Besides being a huge LGBT community, it’s also a very large military community as well. The fact Eric Alva lost his leg stepping on a land mine didn’t seem to matter to these fine folk. Only thing missing were the pitch forks.
Lucky for the hard working war veterans and the LGBT community they are surrounded by wonderful people like Ana Alicia Perez. Ana is a friend of mine, and I’m proud to be a part of her life. If there is a cause that needs tending too, or a person in need, you’ll always find Ana there. She is what’s correct in our world. Ana had this to say referencing Chan:
“She is entitled to her own opinions. However, she is not entitled the right to discriminate against or cause harm to others based on those opinions. Religious liberty is one of our nation’s most cherished values. It guarantees us the freedom to hold any belief we choose and the right to act our beliefs– but it does not allow us to harm or discriminate others. Additionally, the very fact that we have people on the opposition booing a gay veteran and people referring to the LGBT community as queers, combined with Councilwoman Chan calling the LGBT community disgusting and preferring children remain orphans to being adopted by LGBT people is WHY we need a non-discrimination ordinance”.
Ana proudly supports her LGBT and military friends, including one of her closest friends, Eric Alva, and goes out of her way to be heard at all events, meetings and even being public on Facebook about her private life. Besides losing her fiancée in Iraq a decade ago, Ana married another military man, Justin Ingram and had two children with him. Ana and Justin are no longer together but co-parent as mommy and mommy. Justin now goes by the name of Jennifer and is transgender.
When I spoke to Jenny she had this to say about Chan and the NDO:
“Unfortunately, there are many people with the same personal views as Councilwoman Chan, that even though given the facts, still choose ignorance and to discriminate based off of things that just really aren’t true. The San Antonio nondiscrimination ordinance at least allows us to know that our tax dollars are not being used for that baseless discrimination and that everyone is equal in the laws and views of our government. Being transgender, gay, lesbian, or bisexual is not a choice, yet people would still try to hurt us physically, mentally, or financially just because of how nature and God made us. The ordinance reinforces that we are equals, and helps reduce the possibility of losing a job that our own tax dollars paid for, being denied a place to live that everyone else can live at, that we can eat anywhere or stay at a hotel that anyone else can, and that we can’t be turned away just because of how we were born and who we are”.
Even people like George Takei are talking about Chan and posted this on his massive fan based Facebook page:
“It’s always disappointing when Asian Americans in leadership positions fall short. Personally, I find this woman’s actions repugnant. San Antonio, it’s time to dump your trash and make sure the likes of Elisa Chan are never reelected.
The Japanese American Citizen’s League was the very first minority civil rights organization to support marriage equality for LGBT’s back in 1996. I call on Asian American leaders and organizations to condemn Chan’s behavior and her ugly political cynicism.”
While people like Chan can nauseate us all, we can also be grateful that people like Jennifer, Ana, Eric, George and a whole host of others that are outspoken and not afraid to speak out publically against such an injustice!