“Brave” is too small a word

Too small to encompass the massive, almost unimaginable courage being shown by Chelsea Manning, sentenced to 35 years in Leavenworth, and responding to that outrageous sentence (please note that Lt. Calley, the leader of the unit that committed the My Lai atrocities in Vietnam, served only three days of a 3-year sentence for the dozens of murders) by publicly declaring her transition. 

I’ve had a nightmare thousands of times, off and on since I was about 7, about being myself and being put into a jail or prison for men. And that’s me-the-big-tough-varsity-athlete-with-military-unarmed-combat-training-who’s-fought-off-two-attacks-already. 

Being a small, slight woman like Chelsea? In a military fucking prison? I don’t have a word big enough to do justice to that kind of bravery. 

Just a note here: DO NOT use the name she doesn’t want to use anymore; DO NOT misgender her in my comment thread. I WILL instantly ban anyone who does, no exceptions, no do-overs, and the comment won’t see the light of pixels. DON’T push me on this.

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2 thoughts on ““Brave” is too small a word

  1. Agreed. I’m a huge admirer of Chelsea Manning, and horrified at the retribution the US government has inflicted on her for standing up for human rights. The very least we can do is stand up for her right to use her own self-identified name and pronouns. I’ve submitted a complaint to the BBC (the first time I’ve ever done so) about their journalists misgendering her in the news coverage. At least the Guardian got it right, which is a small ray of hope.

    • Absolutely. I’ll admit, it’s a personal peeve for obvious reasons, but I think this is a good opportunity to get people used to the idea that yes, when someone says they’re $GENDER, then there’s no good reason not to take them at their word. And I have definitely been heartened by the number of people I’ve seen speaking up about it, in all sorts of places, and getting a LOT less backlash than I’d have expected. Of course, since I was basically expecting riots and burning cities, it’s not hard to get under the bar.

      Of course, there’s also absolutely NO reason that our government-issued ID needs to indicate gender. They come with pictures, for the most part, so the feeble “but then we wouldn’t know what they’d look like” excuse is made even more worthless. There’s no value gained by society in the government playing genderwicketkeeper, and something evil in the idea of such a keeper smashing off the bails with a jaunty HOWZAT?

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