Bradley Manning told the world he identifies as a woman and wants to be known as Chelsea Manning, a revelation that has sparked a debate on social media and sent journalists scrambling for a refresher on pronoun style.
“I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun,” the Army private, sentenced to 35 years in military prison for leaking classified documents, said in a statement to NBC’sToday show.
The Huffington Post, the London Daily Mail, MSNBC and Slate have all started using the feminine pronoun.
NBC’s Today, USA TODAY, The Boston Globe, Politico, CNN, Fox, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, the Daily Beast, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times are using the masculine pronoun.
According to the Associated Press Stylebook, a reference for many journalists, reporters should use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.
“This is a tough one and sparked vigorous debate in the newsroom,” USA TODAY Editor in Chief DavidCallaway says. “Style evolves with the culture, and the latest style recommendations are that transgender people should be described as they want to be described. That said, Private Manning has been known as a male to this day, so should be regarded as ‘he’ at least for the immediate future. We will continue to discuss.”
Susan Wessling, the deputy editor who supervises The New York Times‘ copy editors, says, “We can’t just spring a new name and a new pronoun” on readers with no explanation, according to Times public editor Margaret Sullivan’s blog.
A post on NPR’s breaking news blog says, “NPR, like other news outlets, is at this point continuing to refer to the soldier as ‘Bradley Manning’ on first reference. Manning’s name has not been legally changed.”
source: USA today