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Talk:Chelsea Manning

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Good articleChelsea Manning has been listed as one of the Social sciences and society good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
May 11, 2012Good article nomineeListed
August 23, 2013Good article reassessmentKept
Current status: Good article
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
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  1. ^ Rainey Reitman, "Feminist, trans advocates should support Bradley Manning", Bradley Manning Support Network Steering Committee, Washington Blade, February 23, 2012

A Commons file used on this page has been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page has been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. Community Tech bot (talk) 17:36, 13 July 2018 (UTC)

Chelsea Manning accuses Wikipedia of transphobia[edit]

During the Q&A portion of her paid appearance on July 21, 2018 at the biennial Circle of HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference in New York City, Chelsea Manning was asked about her Wikipedia page. "It's changing constantly," she replied. "I have noticed that. I went from a convicted leaker, to a whistleblower and convicted leaker, to politician and activist and whistleblower. And I'm not done yet, trust me. I got plenty of stuff down the line." However, she added, "There's a lot of inaccurate things on my Wikipedia page and on the history about this case. I know that they're wrong but I'm not gonna fight it or anything like that. I'm not so focused on it that I'm gonna like try to correct it."

During a follow-up radio interview immediately after her keynote talk, Manning was asked, "What were some of the most incisive things that you've read in your Wikipedia page where you almost said something?"

A. Honestly, it's like little things about like my early life where I'm just like that sounds really transphobic. I've had moments where I feel like people like look at my past and look at the things I've done like take away my political agency and my ability to think for myself and like I'm some hapless person who's just like falling like, oh, I don't know what I'm doing and therefore I'm falling—
Q. Falling down the stairs into the position you're currently in.
A. Yeah. I'm like, no, I can make mistakes, I can learn things, I can do things, I can make my own decisions, including bad ones, including good ones, and including mediocre ones. And I don't like the tone sometimes of me as like this hapless transgender person who's just dealing with so much that she can't handle it.

I've reread the entire Background section of our BLP, including its Early Life subsection, and I honestly do not understand what Manning considers transphobic. Perhaps, as a Top 10 editor of this page, I'm too close to it. I urge other editors to review that content for any hint of transphobia, and form consensus here as to how to remedy it. KalHolmann (talk) 21:02, 21 July 2018 (UTC)

Much of the section about her early childhood reads to me like the story of a girl who is simply bouncing from one unfortunate set of circumstances to another. I wonder if there is a mundane reason for this: Maybe editors have been referencing reliable sources that are easy to find, and these happen to be sources that present Manning as passive. Does anyone know of sources we have overlooked -- sources that that present Manning as having more agency? -- Marie Paradox (talk | contribs) 23:53, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
Please, in what sense does a child have agency? KalHolmann (talk) 00:00, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
That's a fair question. After all a child certainly does not have agency in a legal sense. Perhaps it would be better to use words like "autonomy", "self-determination", and "activity" -- qualities associated with being a subject as opposed to an object.
Think about how differently the following would read if it were not for the italicized portion:
When Fred Rogers was young, he was made the target of bullying because he was fat, and his parents raised him in an environment in which he was discouraged from verbally expressing his anger. But he learned that he could express his feelings, including his anger, through the way he played the piano.
-- Marie Paradox (talk | contribs) 00:15, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I re-read that section looking for what it might be. I don't know but, with the possibility of transphobia in mind, the paragraph: "Manning's sister Casey told the court-martial that both their parents were alcoholics, and that their mother drank continually while pregnant with Chelsea. Captain David Moulton, a Navy psychiatrist, told the court that Manning's facial features showed signs of fetal alcohol syndrome.[31] Casey became Manning's principal caregiver, waking at night to prepare the baby's bottle. The court heard that Manning was fed only milk and baby food until the age of two. As an adult she reached 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m) and weighed around 105 pounds (48 kg)." implies unstated assumptions of male or female. ('Men are tall' etc). Also "Friends and neighbors considered the Mannings a troubled family." etc. In general, a sense of nurture rather than nature. Again, I don't know. I'm trying to, carefully (I hope), offer thoughts, as requested by the OP, that may lead to the article's improvement. AnonNep (talk) 11:25, 30 July 2018 (UTC)

We rely on what Reliable Sources say. We can't go searching through the Reliable Sources to find some way to reword them or recast them because of an implication someone might draw from them. I propose we not do a lot of soul-searching about this offhand comment by Manning and just continue to do our job as encyclopedists. --MelanieN (talk) 15:53, 30 July 2018 (UTC)

In this instance, I don't think we should be casually dismissive. Chelsea Manning is one of the most famous transgender individuals in the world. When she complains that a section in her Wikipedia bio "sounds really transphobic," we ought to take notice and strive to correct it where appropriate. KalHolmann (talk) 16:16, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
As another Top 10 editor, I'm at a loss as to what exactly Manning is concerned about. If we could see the particular items, then they can be tweaked. But "I don't like the tone sometimes of me as like...." is not enough. And certainly not enough to say WP and the ≥1,000 editors of this article are transphobic. MelanieN is right, soul-searching is not needed or helpful here. – S. Rich (talk) 16:37, 30 July 2018 (UTC)


I'm slightly vague as to what the official policy is, if any (I checked the archives and I'm not sure about the consensus, but the link to gender identity for BLP seemed to just go to the MOS with no obvious reference) but it strikes me as a bit off that Manning's former name is quite so prominent in the intro. Though I would agree that it's reasonable to have it somewhere reasonably obvious, putting it in bold right after her real name seems a bit much and actually looks a little adversarial. Couldn't it be dialled down just a little without risk of compromising the article's usefulness? I can't help feel there's a reasonable balance between being respectful and conveniently informative and even at a glance that seems to be rather conspicuously awry.

If it is a policy (regardless of whether or not I could find it) to highlight a person's former name that they no longer identify with quite so assertively (indeed I'd go further and say aggressively) I can't help but feel that the policy should perhaps be revised. --Vometia (talk) 14:32, 15 September 2018 (UTC)

@Vometia: This issue has been previously discussed in multiple threads, most recently on 19 January 2018. Please review those discussions and respond here. Note: you will have to click Show under "Use of feminine pronoun" at the bottom of the archive page to display the relevant discussion, which is headed "Position of birth name in lede." Thank you. KalHolmann (talk) 14:56, 15 September 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for the clarification. I suspect it may be worth putting that in the Q&A section at the top of this page; at present there's a link to MOS:IDENTITY that goes nowhere and a similar one in an archive regarding gender that again just linked to the MOS page, so it could perhaps do with being reviewed. Which is an observation rather than a demand that "someone must do this!", someone not being me but someone else: I lack the boldness and knowledge to do so but that's still quite the demand.
I do think the consensus is wrong, though: I know it's a Wikipedia standard since forever but strength of numbers and loudness of voice etc doesn't make something right and this is something I would say is quite wrong, regardless of it apparently now being a standard. But that's not an argument for here, it's a debate for elsewhere and I'm not the person to lead that debate. And it's why I raised it as a concern on the talk page rather than being... well, "bold", though I suspect without knowing the entire history of this matter but now having an inkling, "unintentionally reckless" would be the likely reality of "be bold!" --Vometia (talk) 15:23, 15 September 2018 (UTC)
@Vometia: I found two links to MOS:IDENTITY under Frequently asked questions (FAQ) on this talk page, and both function properly. KalHolmann (talk) 15:37, 15 September 2018 (UTC)
How curious. It just takes me to the top of MOS with "redirected from MOS:IDENTITY" underneath it.
Though regardless of what the seemingly errant section says, I'm not convinced about its appropriateness. For the record, if it really needs re-stating, at least by me... --Vometia (talk) 16:48, 15 September 2018 (UTC)

Sex reassignment surgery is relevant to article[edit]

On October 20, 2018, User:Rab V reverted my addition of Chelsea Manning's announcement that she had, after years of fighting for it, finally undergone surgery. In his edit summary, Rab V made two points. First, it was "not directly stated in tweet what the surgery is." Any fair reading of Chelsea Manning would confirm that Manning has fought for only one type of surgery: Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS). Second, Rab V contends that "without secondary source it is difficult to establish how relevant a surgery would be to rest of article." Again, one need merely read this BLP, which mentions SRS four times, to establish that editorial consensus has long recognized the relevance of said surgery to Chelsea Manning. I request renewed discussion to affirm that this latest development is, obviously, about SRS and that it is, just as obviously, relevant to the BLP. KalHolmann (talk) 20:52, 20 October 2018 (UTC)

Still if it's not immediately obvious the exact nature of the surgery we shouldn't be making assumptions or we could run into OR issues. The surgery may be related to being trans and not be sexual reassignment surgery, for example orchiectomy or breast augmentation. My tendency is to be cautious around BLP issues for people's medical history as well. If it is very notable, it will probably show up in secondary sources that could also clarify the exact surgery since Manning is still often in the news. Might as well wait til then. PS I am not a man and we probably shouldn't gender wikipedia editors as if they are :) Rab V (talk) 21:01, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
The quote can be run after being led into by a reference to this story from earlier this month that she was to receive "gender transition surgery". Under MOS:LWQ, we can and should skip the wikilink in the quote itself. --Nat Gertler (talk) 21:19, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
@NatGertler: The Reuters story to which you link is more than two years old (Sep 14, 2016). As such, it is unrelated to this latest development and ought not to be added. KalHolmann (talk) 21:24, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Whoops, sorry, the Google News results were listing that as an October 8, 2018 story for some reason. --Nat Gertler (talk) 22:32, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
@NatGertler: I also reject your reading of MOS:LWQ, which states: "…when linking within quotations, link only to targets that correspond to the meaning clearly intended by the quote's author." I submit that Manning's intended meaning is clear: she's alluding to sex reassignment surgery. KalHolmann (talk) 21:29, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
I'm not certain which surgery she is referring to exactlty so we are still at an impasse. It seems related to her status as trans but that still could imply several different possible surgeries. My understanding with regards to notability of surgery within the article, the issue that made it notable and widely discussed in the news was the legal fight the DoD had with her. That fight ended when she left their custody so isn't an issue now. My preference would still be for a reliable secondary source to clear up what surgery she had and help us make sure we aren't wading into BLP issues around someone's medical history. Rab V (talk) 00:20, 21 October 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 13 November 2018[edit]

Please remove "born Bradley Edward Manning." It directly goes against the guidelines to include a trans person's birth name, and is highly disrespectful. Thank you. Transoulrebel (talk) 19:06, 13 November 2018 (UTC)

 Not done: From MOS:MULTIPLENAMES: "In the case of transgender and non-binary people, birth names should be included in the lead sentence only when the person was notable under that name." This article is actually specifically mentioned as an example within that guideline. She was certainly notable under her birth name, so the article is written correctly under current guidelines. ‑‑ElHef (Meep?) 20:08, 13 November 2018 (UTC)

No mention of post prison suicide attempts?[edit]

Why are there no mentions of her suicide attempts after being released from prison? These have all been verified by reputable sources, and discussed by them as well. It seems highly pertinent considering that Manning was a senatorial candidate. A senate candidate actively attempting suicide seems noteworthy for Wikipedia's standards. I lived in Maryland when this event originally happened, and believe me I would have preferred to have known this. It's bizarre why it was never listed in the first place. [1] 2601:982:4200:A6C:B09F:9AE8:DADF:71BE (talk) 20:13, 13 January 2019 (UTC)

This was discussed extensively in the now-archived discussion at Talk:Chelsea_Manning/Archive_16#Alleged_suicide_attempt. --Nat Gertler (talk) 21:45, 13 January 2019 (UTC)
  1. ^