Chelsea Manning Responds To The White House's "War On Trans People" With One Fearless Photo

by Bronwyn Isaac

Early Thursday morning, former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning posted a selfie outside the White House on her Twitter to stand up against President Trump's announcement banning trans people from the military. "Figured I would show my face at the new ground zero of the war on trans people you see, #WeGotThis," Manning wrote in a tweet.

The president announced the ban on transgender people from being allowed or accepted into the military in a series of tweets Wednesday, claiming that U.S. forces "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

Soon after the news broke, Manning responded to Trump's announcement by claiming his plan was cowardly. "So, biggest baddest most $$ military on earth cries about a few trans people but funds the F-35? Sounds like cowardice," Manning wrote in a tweet.

Trump's plans to exclude trans people from the military hit particularly close to home for Manning, who was serving as a soldier when she was arrested in 2013 for leaking military documents to Wikileaks. She was released on May 17, 2017, after Obama commuted her sentence back in January. Given her experience as a publicly known trans woman in the military, she's making sure everyone knows she stands firmly against this ban.

"Militaries, esp. U.S., have always been a social experiment just as much as a fighting force it's how it got so bloated," Manning wrote on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, around the same time she posted the selfie, The New York Times published a full length op-ed penned by Manning in response to Trump's military ban on trans people.

In her column, Manning wrote that Trump's use of medical costs as an excuse to exclude trans people hearkens to old military regulations that pathologized trans people by comparing being trans to a dangerous state of mental health. In fact,

"The old military regulations were laced with medical terms to justify discrimination. They psychopathologized us trans people as having 'manifestations' of 'paraphilias,' and 'psychosexual conditions, transsexual, gender identity disorder to include major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia such as change of sex or a current attempt to change sex,' that would 'render an individual administratively unfit' to serve," wrote Manning.

While it's still unclear whether the president's tweets will directly and immediately shape anti-trans policy, there have already been critiques claiming Trump's ban is unconstitutional. Or at least, teetering on the line of constitutionality. In the meantime, Manning, and many others will stay loud.