HAVANA TIMES – Mr. Bradley Manning, who occupied the headlines of almost all the world’s newspapers a year ago, has once again become a center of attention for the media.
The United States soldier, who gained international renown for filtering thousands of classified documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the Wikileaks website and was condemned to 35 years in prison for his actions, undoubtedly shares the salmon’s affinity for swimming against the current.
He is no more the citizen who at incredible risk to himself offered secret military information to Wikileaks. As things go, now Bradley isn’t himself anymore but Chelsea Elizabeth Manning. This is the name he has gone by since August 2013, when a judge from the state of Kansas granted him the opportunity to change his name. Other news agencies note that the former US soldier has demonstrated his repentance for having leaked the confidential information.
Is he trying to clear himself by becoming another person? Or is he merely seeking recognition – now in an official manner – as a transgendered person?
According to the article Bradley Manning, United States, Sexuality, of April 24, 2014, two military psychiatrists have diagnosed the recruit with gender identity disorder which is used to describe people whose sexual identity is in conflict with their physical identity.
In explaining the well-publicized transformation, Manning has offered declarations like this one: “this is a better, more meaningful and more honest reflection of who I am and who I have always been: a woman named Chelsea”.
And in turn, Lauren McNamara, defender of the rights of transgendered people and a witness at Manning’s trial has stated “being recognized by the name that one chooses to reflect what one is, is a question of basic dignity.”
In the end, Bradley or Chelsea seem to be (or are trying to show they are) two beings in one who are willing to face any risk, even public derision, for freedom.
Is this or that Manning an incredibly brave person or simply someone who will do anything to achieve public notoriety?
I leave the question open for discussion.