state secrets

Is Wikileaks’ Air Strike Alleged Leaker Bradley Manning Transgender?

Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence specialist accused of providing to Wikileaks classified files (including that brutal air strike video), might be one of us: Published chat transcripts between Manning and the hacker Adrian Lamo, who turned Manning in to authorities, reveal the soldier might identify as transgender.

In publishing the chat transcripts, Boing Boing‘s Xeni Jardin appears to have unknowingly outed Manning — and put him at risk of discharge under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Well, if leaking classified files doesn’t get him discharged first.

From the instant messages:

1:11:54 PM) bradass87: and… its important that it gets out… i feel, for some bizarre reason
(1:12:02 PM) bradass87: it might actually change something
(1:13:10 PM) bradass87: i just… dont wish to be a part of it… at least not now… im not ready… i wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me… plastered all over the world press… as boy…
(1:14:11 PM) bradass87: i’ve totally lost my mind… i make no sense… the CPU is not made for this motherboard…
(1:14:42 PM) bradass87: s/as boy/as a boy
(1:30:32 PM) bradass87: >sigh< (1:31:40 PM) bradass87: i just wanted enough time to figure myself out... to be myself... and be running around all the time, trying to meet someone else's expectations (1:32:01 PM) bradass87: *and not be (1:33:03 PM) bradass87: im just kind of drifting now... (1:34:11 PM) bradass87: waiting to redeploy to the US, be discharged... and figure out how on earth im going to transition (1:34:45 PM) bradass87: all while witnessing the world freak out as its most intimate secrets are revealed (1:35:06 PM) bradass87: its such an awkward place to be in, emotionally and psychologically

Writes Jardin: “When I read the ‘somewhat less redacted’ Lamo/Manning logs before publishing them on Boing Boing, I thought the use of the word ‘transition’ meant transitioning from military to civilian life — nothing more. Manning said he was about to be discharged from the military. The ‘as a boy’ line struck me as odd, but the notion that any of this had anything to do with transgenderism never entered my mind. But now, that passage suggested that the Boing Boing commenter and the person on Twitter might be on to something. The phrases that seemed to support the commenters’ theory that Manning was pre-transition transgender were redacted from Boing Boing. A note that a redaction had taken place was added to the post.”

The chat records themselves are pretty ambiguous to the casual observer, but they certainly suggest Manning is discussing more than geekology on a second read. As Manning himself writes, “It’s such an awkward place to be in, emotionally and psychologically.”

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  • B51

    ZJemptv wrote on facebook that brad had left comments on his youtube videos and that they had conversations. If true it doesn’t really indicate that Brad is transgendered, but its curious none the less.

    For anyone who doesn’t know ZJ is an awesome and androgynous vlogger.

  • Niall

    What is terrible is that anti-gay lawmakers will equate gay soldiers with this disturbed trans person and use it to keep DADT in place.

    How many times are we going to get screwed by our association with transgenders? Manning is probably not even gay, yet we might lose equality in the military for years if not decades to come as the result of the actions of a transsexual. We lost ENDA this year because it was “trans inclusive”. Trans people are largely not gay and have issues that have nothing to do with gay people, including issues arising out of Gender Identity Disorder. Yet the gay movement keeps killing itself over their problems. Enough already.

  • missanthrope

    Niall, shut the fuck up.

  • ZJ

    The gay/lesbian/bisexual movement is involved with the transgender movement because they both encompass related issues. Separating them isn’t so simple. Being gay is itself a kind of transgression of traditionally-accepted gender norms: being attracted to men, which is acceptable for women, suddenly becomes much less accepted when you yourself are a man.

    The provisions of ENDA protecting gender identity/expression are actually necessary in order to have meaningful protection for sexual orientation, precisely because of the stereotypes of gays and lesbians that portray them as abnormally feminine or masculine. Without protections for gender identity, employers could just decide to fire gay people and justify it by saying they were “too feminine” or the like.

    The trans movement is further associated with the GLB movement because any relationship involving a trans person can always be interpreted in some way as being a gay relationship. For instance, a relationship between a cis man and a trans woman could be considered “gay” because she “used to be a man”. And a relationship between a cis man and a trans man could also be viewed as a gay relationship, because “now she’s a man”. Because of this, bans on gay marriage end up impacting trans people as well. Depending on whether their state recognizes their transition or not, they end up being able to marry only one gender or the other: one gender before they transition, the other gender after. Add to this the complications arising from transitioning while already married, and laws targeting gays and lesbians end up creative a ridiculous mess for trans people as well.

    Basically, while you might think it’s inconvenient for GLBs to be associated with Ts, there really is no way of avoiding that connection and its implications. They’re a part of our community and we’re a part of theirs, like it or not.

  • Kay


    Hey Niall. Fuck you, you bigoted sack of shit. Same goes to the two fuckers who gave him a thumbs up. I hope you all burn in Hell with Fred Phelps.

  • Jadis

    @Niall: Is it actually possible for any story even remotely trans-related to be free of the worthless opinions of retards like you?

  • jeffree

    Am I missing the point here?

    The possible Trans status of the person involved with the story has *no* bearing on his/ her performance of assigned duties ! All that matters is her/ his competence in doing what s/he is assigned to do….

    Gender has no pluses or minuses here: it’s the capacity to get desired results.
    That means training & experience matter more.

    This is a non-story.

  • DR (the real one, not the guy who made post #12)


    You wrote: “The provisions of ENDA protecting gender identity/expression are actually necessary in order to have meaningful protection for sexual orientation, precisely because of the stereotypes of gays and lesbians that portray them as abnormally feminine or masculine. Without protections for gender identity, employers could just decide to fire gay people and justify it by saying they were “too feminine” or the like.”

    That’s legally incorrect in many jurisdictions in the US. Legally, feminine men and masculine women are protected under the aegis of of “sex discrimination”, and the provision for gender identity is not needed to protect GLBs.

    If you want to make legal arguments as to why protecting Ts aids GLBs, I suggest you do your homework first.

  • Brutus

    “as a boy” = “as a young man”/”at a young age”

    He’s saying he wouldn’t mind so much being executed, except that it means there will probably be all kinds of pictures of him from when he was a kid published all over the place, and he doesn’t want that. I wouldn’t read trans into this.

  • Jason


    That shim is straight man, through and through.

  • Jadis


  • Niall

    Just wanted to point out how the “LGBT” thought police respond to anyone who raises the points that the association is fake and illogical, as well as that gay people get nothing out of this fake association except the failure of their key political objectives.

    The response is “STFU!” and profanity and name-calling. And one poor soul who insists that we are all LGBT “whether we like it or not”. That isn’t the response you would get if LGBT made any real sense at all. It isn’t the response of a community, it is the response of a handful of thugs desperate to quash debate.

    There WILL be a debate. It will be the debate that we should have had BEFORE we all went down the rosy path of “LGBT”. We have lost ENDA specifically b/c our leaders felt obligated to elevate the priorities of largely straight transsexuals and their bathroom needs. Now it may be that DADT repeal will be threatened by the actions of a straight trans woman. None of this crap has anything to do with gay people and their role in the workplace and the armed forces.

    Gays and lesbians are not at war with their respective genders and do not want to spend the next century fighting a war over cross-dressing, bathroom usage, and hormone treatments for felons.

  • B51

    @Niall: Why do you believe your rights(and presumably the rights of all the GLB community) take precedence over transpeople’s rights?

    I believe Martin Niemöller wrote a poem addressing your kind of thought process. “First they came…” Sound familiar?

  • Jadis

    @Niall: You don’t deserve anything but abuse, really. Here’s the deal: this article is speculating that this person is trans based on nothing but an ambiguous chat log, ie really nothing at all.

    In spite of that, you elevate this baseless speculation to a certainty in order to find something, anything, to demonize trans people with. Really, the content of the article is irrelevant to you, all that matters is the keyword “transgender” and your knee goes jerk jerk jerk. “They make us look bad,” you whine. “They’re (nearly) all straight,” you lie. “They’re disturbed thugs,” you project. “They’re just crossdressers,” you allege.

    We’re not thugs. What we are is sick and fucking tired of the endless, endless abuse we get from the likes of you and your budz. We are the niggers of the GLBT, and that is no hyperbole, with the Bs not far behind.

    This is why I want to separate from the G, at least. I know that this abuse will never, ever end. People like you want to make the environment so toxic that we’ll leave on our own. Mission accomplished. You “sodomites” can go face the homophobes on your own. The Bible says nothing at all about us. Or the L, for that matter; they may want to make a run for it as well. I’m still cool with the Bs.

    BTW, Bradley Manning is a fucking hero. He stood up and blew the whistle on the Pentagon, the dark enemy of the world.

  • missanthrope

    Niall, I responded to you like I do all bigots: Fuck you. I don’t waste my time arguing with your bullshit points.

    Have a not-so-nice day.

  • Niall

    “We’re not thugs. What we are is sick and fucking tired of the endless, endless abuse we get from the likes of you and your budz. We are the niggers of the GLBT, and that is no hyperbole, with the Bs not far behind.”

    Oh, but you are thugs. And foul-mouthed thugs at that. You can call me names and use the f-word if you like. You can even debase yourself further by using the N-word and by trying to compare objections to the false construction of “LGBT” to slavery and lynching. But you only expose your unbalanced emotional and mental state, which is all too common in those afflicted with GID.

    And no, sorry, the Bs will not be far behind because bisexuals are defined by their sexual orientation. All gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are, by definition, homosexual to some degree. It makes perfect sense for bisexuals to be in the same community as gays and lesbians and I hope I speak for many when I say that it is an honor and privilege to be in an LGB family with them. Not so for Ts, who are not defined by sexual orientation and most of whom are straight. And when a false construction like LGBT causes gay people great social and political harm, as happened this year, it is not only an affront to logic, but to morality.

    It is telling that you think Manning is a hero, even though he performed his “heroic” acts in violation of his oath, in secret, with the hope of slinking away without taking responsibility, and perhaps exposing one of his colleagues to investigation or prosecution. He also boasted that he released reams of information that had nothing to do with the killing of civilians and which he hadn’t even read himself. He just enjoyed the idea that he was causing chaos and damage. He sure sounds like a trans activist. You can have him as your hero. You should make him your icon.

  • mci

    I’m sure I’m going to get flak for this (namely because trans people seemingly react very poorly to the idea), but I would like to point out that this is reasoning for the inclusion of, not exclusion of the trans community within ours. Niall, and anyone else, consider looking up Blanchard’s taxonomy of trans people. I don’t know what you mean by straight as in 1) Born male wanting to be female and liking females or 2) Born male wanting to be female and liking males. Which do you consider straight? The prevailing scientific opinion is that there are heterosexual autogynephiles trans individuals and homosexual trans individuals. The former are generally masculine but are turned on by the idea of themselves as a woman and the latter are generally what are seemingly gay men who are extremely far on the feminine spectrum end and see themselves more as women than men.
    Speaking for myself, I believe both groups have struggles similar to our own and therefore warrant protections and rights just as we do, but for someone such as yourself, I can’t imagine that the latter group would inspire so much ire in you. Can you imagine if you were so effeminate (and just by being a gay man I’m sure you recognize many of your effeminate tendencies, however slight – imagine them amplified)that you were absolutely sure that you must be a woman and not a man. Remember though, that while autogynephiles may not fit entirely into the “homosexual” grouping, they are representative of a sexual minority that is misunderstood and as such, if we can fight to protect ourselves, shouldn’t we fight to protect people who have a similar struggle who do not have the numbers or monetary backing that we do to get our rights. They deserve their rights just as much as we do, even if they are not homosexuals. Finally, you’ll have to forgive me. I read your post and wanted to note that I believe that there are more homosexual transsexuals than there are non-homosexual transsexuals, but I don’t have the numbers on that and hate when people make up statistics. Anecdotally, I’d say I’ve seen more homosexual transgender people, but that is a far cry from science, especially since it’s nearly always in the context of a gayborhood.

    Read Michael Bailey’s The Man Who Would Be Queen. It should elucidate some salient points on gender identity, homosexuality, and transsexualism. For anyone who wants to immediately denounce this because you’ve heard some terrible things about Bailey and his “anti-homosexual agenda,” I’d like to point out that it’s, for lack of a better word, bullshit. The book is absolutely amazing and Bailey’s sex research is interesting to say the least. I’ve met him personally and he is an absolute outspoken supporter and advocate of gay rights.

  • Jadis

    @Niall: Thugs, eh? So we go beating you up, mugging and breaking your legs? Flaming you is not thuggery. Welcome to the Internet. I prefer to use the full expressiveness of the English language, rather than an impoverished subset. And I don’t asterisk out words, it’s disingenuous and cowardly. You have been name-calling right from the get-go, it’s just that you use a more smarmy, passive-aggressive way to do it. I am perfectly civil with non-douchebags, it’s just bigots like you I let loose with.

    When I say niggers, I mean it, with all the spitefulness, malice and contempt that that word conveys. Your malice, spitefulness and contempt, to be precise. I’m not talking about decades and centuries ago. I am talking about now, 2010. Or 2008 after Prop 8, when people like you used the word on random black people in California.

    You are the one who wants to cut us out, to excise us for your short-term political gain. You are the one demonizing us at every opportunity in order to advance your political agenda. Nice effort with the e-psychiatry diagnosing me as mentally unstable (in fact, it’s a pretty common libel used against transpeople). I’m sure you’re an expert in such things. It’s always a good tactic for the passive-aggressive.

    Yes, Manning is a hero. What is an oath when you’re seeing atrocity after atrocity going past your desk? What is it worth against thousands of lives? It doesn’t matter if he slunk away, if his work helps end the racist crusades in Afghanistan and Iraq one minute sooner by exposing the truth to the world, he’s a great man. And I would be proud to have him as a trans activist, even though I’m pretty sure he’s not trans (and it’s nobody’s business if he is). Ab. So. Lute. Ly.

    BTW, I seem to be getting more thumbs-up than you. Maybe things are different from what you imagine.

    Anyhoo, I’m sure everyone’s moved on from this non-story, so I’m done until the next time something trans-related comes up on Queerty (except for a post to MCI, which I haven’t started yet). Sorry, MCI, you’ll have to wait. I’ve got a migraine.

  • Warren

    This is one giant stretch. Even with a vivid imagination, I’m just flat not making the connection. Why not just ask the kid? He seems to relish in the dissemination of information.

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