Equality Matters

Cable News Outlets Misgender Private Manning After Gender Transition Announcement

August 22, 2013 3:03 pm ET - by Carlos Maza

Following the announcement that former Army private Bradley Manning identifies as female and wishes to be referred to as Chelsea Manning, cable news outlets continued to identify Manning as a male.

During the August 22 edition of NBC's Today, co-anchor Savannah Guthrie read a statement from Bradley Manning - who was recently convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks - announcing the former Army private's desire to live as a female and be identified as Chelsea Manning:

In the statement, Manning specifically stated a desire to be referred to using 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).

Despite Manning's request to be identified as a female, cable news outlets continued to incorrectly refer to her as a male.

During the August 22 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, host Greg Jarrett repeatedly used male pronouns to describe Manning:

The same was true during the August 22 edition of CNN's Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield, even after Banfield and Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence acknowledged Manning's desire to be identified as a female:

On MSNBC's Jansing and Co. host Chris Jansing alternated between referring to Manning as a male and female:

The GLAAD Media Reference Guide calls on outlets to refer to transgender people by their chosen pronouns, stating:

Always use a transgender person's chosen name. Often transgender people cannot afford a legal name change or are not yet old enough to change their name legally. They should be afforded the same respect for their chosen name as anyone else who lives by a name other than their birth name (e.g., celebrities).

Whenever possible, ask transgender people which pronoun they would like you to use. A person who identifies as a certain gender, whether or not that person has taken hormones or had some form of surgery, should be referred to using the pronouns appropriate for that gender.


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