Swift on the heels of the news that the SF Pride Board is being not-so-gently urged by Supervisor David Campos to find a way to make good on their failed honoring of Bradley Manning, the organizers of this year's Trans March have stepped up and declared that they will be honoring Manning as one of their own. This immediately calls to question whether Manning actually is transgender, which is not something that Manning has stated publicly. However, there is ample evidence to suggest that Manning has at least struggled with his gender identity, and that his lawyers may even use that in his defense in the court-martial that began this week in Maryland.
Trans March organizers made their announcement via Facebook, as the SF Bay Guardian notes today, and they say that they will be using Manning's given male name, Bradley, in lieu of a female one, at the request of Manning's closest supporters in the Bradley Manning Support Network. As of now, Manning still officially identifies as a gay male, and may continue to, though it's unclear without a direct update from him where his mind is regarding his gender, three years after he said he was questioning it.
The talk about Manning being trans dates back to shortly after his arrest in 2010, when several blogs noted a chat transcript in which Manning discusses "transitioning" and being uncomfortable with the idea of images plastered everywhere of him "as a boy." This was an online chat Manning had with ex-hacker Adrian Lamo, who identifies as bisexual and whom Manning sought out in deciding to leak sensitive military documents. Lamo testified at Manning's court-martial today, and he was the person who turned Manning over to the feds in May 2010.
As you can see in this very first chat conversation between Manning and Lamo, Manning discusses being discharged "for 'adjustment disorder' in lieu of 'gender identity disorder,'" and he adds that he's "questioned my gender for several years sexual orientation was easy to figure out." Also, Manning sent two letters during his detention at Quantico signed "Breanna Manning," suggesting that the idea of transitioning was central to his thinking that year.
Manning was 22 at the time, and he's 25 now, and he continues to want to be called Bradley. The mainstream press has largely avoided the topic of Manning's sexuality or gender identity. It seems especially relevant, however, now that Lamo was just on the witness stand for the prosecution, given how obvious it is that Manning was motivated to talk to Lamo in part because he was a kindred LGBT person, and he was confessing at a time of great personal turmoil. We're curious to see how the topic comes up in what looks to be a two-month trial.
The Trans March will take place on Friday, June 28, beginning with a rally in Dolores Park.
In related news, both the Dyke March and the queer-friendly party Hard French have issued statements in support of Manning, and criticizing SF Pride.