Chelsea Manning IS A Hero

Kay Brown’s January 2018 post about Chelsea Manning leaves much to be desired when reading from any sort of anti-capitalist perspective, especially given the numerous falsehoods given in her post. Let’s break them down one by one.


Manning is an embarrassment to our community.  Manning gives us all a black eye.

If anything, you do, Kay Brown, by promoting psuedoscientific theories about the etiology of trans women.

Manning knowingly put her fellow soldiers at extreme risk by turning spy for Wikileaks

A blatant falsehood. A document obtained by Buzzfeed cites a military report showing that Chelsea Manning’s leaks did not harm US security or authority in Iraq. There have been no documented deaths nor injuries from her actions.

Many may attempt to portray her as a “whistle-blower” but that is a false picture.  She released far too many documents to have carefully considered the potential damage and danger for each one.  She did not point out specific wrong doings… she released documents en mass to our enemies.

She is definitionally a whistle-blower, regardless of whether one thinks she went about ir correctly or not. She did not read the documents in detail because no one person has that capability. She went to the New York Times, she went to the Washington Post and neither of them replied quick enough. After her experiences with the lies the US military was propagating, it’s understandable why she wanted to expose them.

She just said “fuck you” to her responsibilities and her oath to defend the United States and our constitution.

The United States government said “fuck you” to its responsibilities and oath to defend the United States constitution with its massacres and coverups.

Wikileaks is NOT our friend.  Wikileaks has deep connections to Russia and other autocratic states that are not our allies.

An anachronistic analysis of Wikileaks that refuses to take into account the conditions Chelsea was in at the time (did not receive replies from other news organizations), and the fact that Wikileaks as an organization has changed over time and their intentions have become exposed.

Wikileaks is headed by a man who is hiding in an Ecuadorean embassy to avoid facing criminal charges of espionage and rape.  Wikileaks is very selective in what it leaks to the press and the world.

No contest here.

If it will hurt the United States… it get’s released.  If it will hurt certain candidates that the Russians don’t like, it get’s released.

One important thing to note is that Wikileaks used to publish things that would hurt non-Western countries, but no longer does so. They released censored videos of Tibetans dissenting against Chinese rule, a few examples of Kenyan corruption, a nuclear accident in Iran (which is widely considered to be an enemy of the United States). Assange also essentially threatened the Kremlin with a wave of leaked information about Russia in 2010.

Remember this as you think of Chelsea Manning.  She is NOT a hero.  She is (indirectly) a tool of the Russian state.

She is no longer in contact with Wikileaks. She had little connections with them, and at a time when they were much less beholden (if at all) to Russian interests. She does not contemporarily share information with the Russian government, nor Wikileaks.

At a time when the transcommunity is struggling to prove to the nation that transfolk can serve honorably in the military, Manning is not a shining example.

We’re also at a time where the US military is being used to subjugate and oppress various peoples around the world. Is that an institution that trans individuals really want to participate in, especially given the role that the US military has in reinforcing oppressive structures in Pakistan which is notable for its high rate of violence against trans people?

If she really cared about the community, she would know she should take a low profile but instead…

If I had a nickle for every time someone said “If she really cared about the <insert group>”, then I’d be a millionaire. It’s a way of silencing people who have a somewhat iffy past, people that have been slandered, denigrated, and attacked in the media. It’s a way of upholding oppressive discourses that silence trans people, people of color, women and various other marginalized groups. It’s a form of respectability politics.


Chelsea Manning portrays herself as a “transactivist”…

I don’t know about you.  But I’m sick to death of people who transition and within hours of doing so, declare that they are “transactivists”.

She has used her platform to talk about trans rights, to talk about trans people and expand the public’s knowledge of us. If that’s not enough to qualify as some sort of trans activist, I’m not sure what is. Furthermore, I am unable to find any language where she refers to herself as an activist, but rather the media has slapped the label onto her.

No, she is NOT.  She has done NOTHING to help transfolk.  She is not Shannon Minter.  She is NOT Joanna Michelle Clark.  She did NOT pound the streets fighting anti-LGBT laws.  She did NOT found, nor work for, organizations like the ACLU Transsexual Rights Committee.

This is a great example of creating arbitrarily high standards for entry into a specific group; trans activists.

Just because she is trans is no reason to hail her as a hero.

I do not consider her a hero because she is trans. I consider her a hero because she exposed the US military’s lies and crimes about the Iraq War. The fact that the military has murdered innocent civilians. The fact that the military covers it up. And when the military is called out for murder, the individual is victimized, punished and imprisoned.