Target: FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, AP, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post
Goal: Stop using male pronouns to refer to U.S. Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning.
Chelsea Manning, who was recently found guilty of crimes related to the leaking of documents to Wikileaks, issued a statement prior to her prosecution asking people to refer to her by feminine pronouns and by the name of Chelsea. Prior to her male-to-female transition, she had gone by the name of Bradley Manning. Despite the statement issued by Manning, several media outlets referred to her as “Bradley” and with male pronouns. In response, GLAAD and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association issued statements outlining proper guidelines for coverage regarding transgender people. The organizations reiterated that the media outlets should only use the names and pronouns Manning prefers. However, misgendering has persisted.
The AP, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post all referred to Manning with a male pronoun throughout their stories about her statement that she wished to be identified as a woman and to be called Chelsea. The AP’s official policy when reporting on transgender individuals is to “use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.” However, the AP has infringed its own policy in some of its earlier coverage and has since published a story that uses gender-neutral references to Manning. While using gender-neutral pronouns is better than blatant misgendering, the AP is still making it clear that it is uncomfortable identifying Manning by her preferred identity, which reinforces stigma.
Television news programs have similarly continued to misgender Manning. On FOX News’ America’s Newsroom, host Greg Jarrett repeatedly referred to her with male pronouns. The same occurred on CNN’s Legal VIew with Ashleigh Banfield, and on MSNBC’s Jansing and Co., on which host Chris Jansing alternated between using male and female pronouns in reference to Manning.
It is important that we identify transgender people by the pronouns and names they prefer. Misgendering and refusing to use their preferred names is disrespectful and perpetuates stigma against transgender people. Sign the petition below to tell mainstream media outlets to stop misgendering Chelsea Manning and to always use preferred pronouns and names when reporting on any transgender individuals.
Dear FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, AP, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post,
Despite a formal statement from U.S. Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning asking people to refer to her by the name Chelsea and with female pronouns, various media outlets have continued to misgender her and refer to her as “Bradley.” This is unacceptable and directly contradicts media guidelines issued by GLAAD and other LGBT advocacy groups.
Manning has made it clear how she identifies, and you should respect her identity by referring to her by her name and gender. Even using gender-neutral pronouns sends the message that you’re uncomfortable identifying her the way she wants to be identified. This only perpetuates discrimination and stigma against transgender people. I urge you to stop misgendering Manning and to be more careful about any future stories about transgender individuals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: KevinAction via WikiMedia