UPDATE: December 24 2011 00:38 GMT We have heard from a representative of bradleymanning.org that Bradley’s close friends only “heard or knew of male pronouns” but bradleymanning.org are advising people to be gender neutral where possible. Queer Friends of Bradley Manning will follow this advice until we hear otherwise. END UPDATE
There have been quite a few debates on the internet recently about the fact that Bradley has referred to himself, on a few occasions and in different contexts, as possibly being transgender and having the name ‘Breanna’. The post Why does the media still refer to “Bradley” Manning? The Curious Silence Around a Transgender Hero is a good example and it contains the best arguments presented so far as to why he should be called Breanna – the posts beneath the article, many written by trans people, are well worth reading.
Queer Friends of Bradley Manning want to briefly lay out the reasons why we, for the time being at least, will continue to refer to Bradley as Bradley and not Breanna.
Firstly, Bradley has at no point publicly asked to be called Breanna: the chat-log conversations were meant to be private conversations, and the discussions he had with his counsellor were also meant to be private – we are not sure how his counsellor feels it is okay to talk to the media about private discussions he has had with Bradley in a professional setting, we feel this is quite appalling and highly unprofessional – and because Bradley had these on- and off-line conversations with the expectation that they would remain private means that we feel that it is not right to use the information as if it were public information and could somehow constitute a request, public or otherwise, for Bradley to be referred to as Breanna. It is also not yet the case that the chat-logs have been confirmed as being, beyond a shadow of a doubt, authentic.
Secondly, we understand that he had used the name ‘Breanna’ to set up other online accounts, however, given the prevalence of people using pseudonyms on the internet we don’t feel that this is a strong enough justification for us to refer to him as Breanna.
As soon as Bradley publicly expresses a wish to be called Breanna we will totally respect and support that decision, but until such time as he does we feel it more appropriate to call him Bradley.