Brianna Wu, a feminist video game developer and congressional candidate from Massachusetts, is demanding The New York Times fire an editor for approving an article that mentions Chelsea Manning's birth name, Bradley.
In an article about ex-military transgender darling Chelsea Manning, Times opinion writer James Kirchick criticized Manning for using her status as a transgender activist to distract from her crimes in the military, which included violating the Espionage Act and then blaming it on “untreated gender dysphoria” in order to avoid a longer court sentence.
Kirchick argues that of all people, Manning does not represent the transgender military community in a positive way. He writes:
It would be hard to find a less convincing advocate for transgender military service than someone convicted of violating the Espionage Act. The cognitive dissonance required of L.G.B.T. activists in celebrating Ms. Manning while denouncing Donald Trump’s transgender military ban is considerable, not least in the case of Ms. Manning herself, who simultaneously condemns the ban while also tweeting that “we need to dismantle the military/police state,” without appearing to recognize the contradiction. (Ms. Manning is a prolific Tweeter whose blithe, emoji-laden missives read like the doodles of a freshman peace studies major and belie her portrayal as the moral conscience of our time.)
Wu is now lashing out at Kirchick for once mentioning Manning's birth name.
“Hey, @nytimes. You're disciplining/firing the editor who approved deadnaming @xychelsea, an egregious breach of ethics, right?” Wu tweeted.
Wu then said she thinks the Times should at least ban writers from including transgender people's birth names after they change them:
“At the very least, they need to formalize this as editorial policy like every other reputable publication on earth,” she said.
One person commented that 'deadnaming' is standard among 'reputable publications,' to which transgender Everyday Feminism writer Katelyn Burns replied, “I didn't when I wrote for VICE.”
“He said reputable,” Twitter user “Krizz” replied to Burns.
The tirade against Kirchick has spread deeper on social media. Manning is now accusing Kirchick of “fascism” and corporate elitism, which she claims is everything the transgender movement is against:
“Responding to Kirchick's article, who focuses on my transness as a political issue,” Manning added.
Manning's birth name, “Bradley,” is still easily searchable online. Galleries like the one at Getty Images are stocked full of captioned images of Manning before she came out as transgender.