The Associated Press (AP) has sent out a memo to all of its journalists and subscribers ensuring they use the correct female pronouns in stories involving Chelsea E Manning.
The advisory states: “The Associated Press will henceforth use Pvt Chelsea E Manning and female pronouns for the soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning, in accordance with her wishes to live as a woman.
“Manning announced her wishes last Thursday after being sentenced to 35 years in Fort Leavenworth military prison and a dishonourable discharge from the US Army for revealing US secrets to WikiLeaks, the anti-establishment website.”
Citing its journalistic style guide, AP said: “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. The guidance calls for using 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.”
AP added: “For the time being, 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.
“That stylebook entry states: ‘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’.”
AP said it was trying to contact Manning’s defence lawyer for complete clarification of her reporting wishes.
In a statement last week to NBC’s Today show, Manning said: “I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” adding: “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.”
However, prison officials have indicated that Manning will not be eligible for gender confirmation treatment as she serves out her sentence.