Re: Chelsea Manning
Dear Ms. Bross,
I am contacting you as a lifetime listener and longtime supporter of National Public Radio. As a teenager I began contributing to Michigan Radio as soon as I began to earn my own paycheck; my wife and I are currently sustaining members of WBUR and WGBH in Boston. I usually look to National Public Radio for thoughtful and respectful in-depth reporting that is conscious of the full humanity and agency of the individuals whom its reporters speak to and about.
Your decision to ignore Chelsea Manning’s explicit request that we honor her gender identity and use her chosen name as well as conventional female pronouns is an unethical one. It is a decision that robs her of what little agency she has left as she enters a military prison — the right to personhood, and the ability to articulate who she is. Surely Pfc. Manning is the one individual in the world who can know more intimately than any of us who she is. For NPR to contradict her own explicit self-definition is a profound act of arrogance and erasure.
I hope the coming days see reversal of your initial decision, and an apology to Manning and all of the trans people out there who have had to live through yet another round of media mis-steps around a high-profile individual who happens to be transgender. I was truly sorry to see NPR complicit in this perpetuation of trans-bigotry and ignorance.
In hopes of a better, more inclusive tomorrow,
Anna J. Clutterbuck-Cook
h/t to @SexOutLoudRadio for the email