it’s official! pvt manning, having embraced a deep personal truth, is now chelsea.
my daughter and i had a lesson in heroism yesterday as part of our homeschool session. our literature readings have included stories of legendary heroes, and of course many of these are warriors of one sort or another.
after reading “mulan” we had a discussion about what really made her a hero. was it that she had proved to be mighty in battle and even achieved the level of general? was it that she took on someone else’s duty in order to spare her family hardship?
the part of the story that most affected my 10 year old transgender daughter was when mulan took off her helmet and cropped her hair, basically into a crewcut. the idea that she forfeited her female identity in order to go off to war with the troops, was one that was devasting to ziona!
our discussion of modern day heroes followed up the story of mulan. a current events tie-in that made mention of other kinds of heroism, like NOT going to war, like a soldier putting down his weapon and refusing to kill, or activists protesting, or hacktivists exposing the lies of the government, lies used to justify murder.
that brought up a couple of, by now, household names…julian assange, wikileaks, the collective known as anonymous, edward snowden and of course pvt manning.
today, with the announcement verified by chelsea herself, that she is indeed a woman and will continue to live in that truth from now on, we once again discussed the heroism of pvt manning. who, like mulan, sacrificed her identity as a woman, only in Chelsea’s case it was more to try to become what society and her birth certificate have always insisted was reality. but as in the truths she uncovered and subsequently shared with the world about the US govt and its war crimes, she began to doff her own lies, so that she could become the woman she’s always felt she was.
as liberating as that must be for her at a time when the US will almost assuredly take away her freedom for most of the rest of her life, it also adds depth to the story of the soldier who could not tell a lie…any longer.
altho immediate rumours have been that the armed services will deny her the hormone treatment and other medical procedures, it bears notice that in Massachusetts, a person guilty and serving time for murder has received a judgement that she must be allowed to transition fully.
it is unlawful to deny medical and/or psychiatric treatment to a person in custody. hopefully all the right people will force this issue in the case of chelsea manning.
from my daughter’s point of view, just having felt compelled to renounce the femininity ms. manning has always known to be true, in order to try to fit the cis-normative society’s designated place for her was already an unthinkable self-sacrifice! from my daughter’s point of view, she is a bigger hero today than yesterday, only because today we know the depth of her soul.
having embraced her own truth, shed the lies, and come clean so to speak, we are reminded that her desire to put things right didn’t stop at revealing hard truths about our govt. she told the world her own truth too!