AP Accepts 'Chelsea Manning' After Initial Delay

The AP initially resisted using Manning's female gender identity.

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The convicted WikiLeaks source previously known as Pfc. Bradley Manning should "henceforth" be referred as Chelsea Manning with feminine pronouns, "in accordance with her wishes to live as a woman," The Associated Press announced Monday evening.

"The use of the first name 'Chelsea' and feminine pronouns in Manning's case is in conformity with the transgender guidance in the AP Stylebook," according to an update sent to subscribers of the AP's online style guide. The AP's style rules are the default for many newsrooms.

The decision comes less than a week after Manning's Aug. 22 gender identity announcement in a statement to NBC's "Today" show. " I want everyone to know the real me," the statement said. "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female."

The initial AP story on Manning's announcement used neither feminine or masculine pronouns in the body of the article and used "he" in the headline. The male pronoun has since been removed.

[EARLIER: Manning: 'Real Me' Is a Woman Named Chelsea]

In its Monday guidance, the AP said its decision was made after "Manning's statement was reiterated, with additional detail, in a blog posting and an interview with The Associated Press on Monday by defense attorney David E. Coombs."

In the five-paragraph blog post referenced by AP editors, the Bradley Manning Support Network announced it was changing its name to the Private Manning Support Network. The protest-leading organization and Coombs co-signed the statement.

In a Monday interview with the AP, Coombs reiterated that he and Manning would work to persuade Ft. Leavenworth to "do the right thing" and provide hormone treatment to allow Manning to acquire female physical traits.

"There's a realization that most people know her as Bradley," Coombs told the AP. "Chelsea is a realist and understands."

Guidance initially provided by the AP to online stylebook subscribers on Aug. 22 said "the AP is seeking more details about the gender change statement attributed to Pfc. Bradley Manning" before adopting the style change-over.

[RON PAUL: Manning Deserves Nobel Peace Prize More Than Obama]

"For the time being," the AP initially said, "AP stories will use gender-neutral references to Manning and provide the pertinent background on the transgender issue. However, when reporting is completed, the AP Stylebook entry on 'transgender' will be AP's guide."

The AP's "transgender" entry remains unchanged. It says: "Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly."

Manning was sentenced Aug. 21 to 35 years in prison for leaking an enormous stash of U.S. military and diplomatic documents to the transparency group WikiLeaks, which released them to newspapers and the public. She will be eligible for parole in 2020.

The 25-year-old former intelligence analyst is credited by her supporters, including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, with helping scuttle the U.S.-Iraq status of forces agreement in 2011, thereby ending the American military's near decade of involvement there, and with jump-starting the Arab Spring protests in Tunisia with the release of diplomatic cables on the country's now-deposed dictator. Manning was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, 2012 and again this year.

 

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