Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon

Media, War and Politics

Some shitty blogger once said:

Whenever and wherever a human does something of which the Times is not certain it approves, the grey lady turns to psychology, like an eleventh-grader with a collection of Capote stories and a looming term paper deadline . . . Gay computer-nerd loser is the pathology, and revealed government secrets is how it presents clinically.

It was unfair of him to single out the Grey Lady. The old girl isn’t the only one. All media must now report that Manning suffered from crippling gender dysmorphia and GAY SEX CONFUSION, the two leading causes of Opposing US Military Action Abroad, a confusing syndrome for which there is currently no known cure nor effective prophylaxis.

So you find documentary filmmaker (I submit to you, BTW, this is the single most insufferable noun phrase modifier in the Queen’s tongue) Alex Gibney, in the course of discussing his new Wikileaks documentary, proposing:

The initial presentation of the story was that Bradley Manning was a pure political figure, like a Daniel Ellsberg. I don’t think that’s a sufficient explanation of why he did what he did. I think he was alienated; he was in agony personally over a number of issues. He was lonely and very needy. And I think he had an identity crisis. He had this idea that he was in the wrong body and wanted to become a woman, and these issues are not just prurient. I think it raises big issues about who whistleblowers are, because they are alienated people who don’t get along with people around them, which motivates them to do what they do. To understand Bradley and all his humanity seemed terribly important in this film.

“To understand Bradley and all his humanity,” you need to grok that he was a fucking weirdo who wanted to cut off his own johnson.

It’s only lately occurred to me that straights must experience their own sexuality as an absolutely crippling psychic nightmare, a torturous, imprisoning dream from which the dreamer cannot awake. Nothing else explains their readiness, their eagerness, to discover in gays or trans people or whomever a dark well of self-hatred and disgust which can only be overcome by the eventual transformation-via-habituation of their families into models of tolerance and understanding and the cheerful evolution of the President Himself into an oratorical Stonewall namechecker.

In the Manning/Lamo chat logs, Manning says matter-of-factly that it was “easy” to figure out that he was gay, although he took a lot of shit for it in school and from his family. And though he agonizes about gender transition, his agony is practical. “I wish it were as simple as ‘hey, go transition’,” he says. His problem, such as it is, is that he revealed that he was trans to his military employers, and he is stranded in “limbo,” awaiting “outprocessing.”

Manning’s own self-accounting of his dissent, what we know of it, is “pure[ly] political . . . like Daniel Ellsberg,” and unrelated to his desire to transition. Conflating his sex and gender with his dissenting acts is pure projection on the part of a condescending hetero who can’t imagine a queer person as anything other than a protean, inchoate shitpile of doubt and contradiction whose only outlet is adolescent acting-out.

Gibney’s “terribly important” desire to “understand Bradley and all his humanity” reduces Manning to the crudest gay caricature: young, confused, weak-willed, emotional . . . my god, practically a woman.


37 thoughts on “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon

  1. So, agreed, but I’d just like to say that though I don’t know what pronoun Manning prefers, I’m betting it’s not “he.”

    On the “agony is practical” tip, the most heartbreaking part of the chat logs for me is where Manning says they know what the consequences will be, and they don’t mind being imprisoned, even executed, so much as having to do it all publicly as a man. How brave is that? Fuck pathologizers.

  2. I certainly don’t appreciate Gibney’s baseless speculation. How do we know Ellsberg was purely political? Look at the record: He released nearly 7,000 pages of material. That’s a really big number, and by my calculations that places him at around 15 longshoremen serviced and somewhere around 3 beatings received from same.

  3. “[whistleblowers] are alienated people who don’t get along with people around them, which motivates them to do what they do.”

    Whistleblowers seem a tautological bunch.

  4. I guess it saves them from having to consider the possibility that the cause might be something more along the lines of “functioning conscience.”

  5. Mr. Christ’s conflicts with the Pharisees can only be appreciated if we remember his confusion about the identity of his father.

    1. ( and in that same breath, please, please, please …… watch your back, the berg of pot holes, and – once upon quite stubborn memories – an …unbridled domicile (not at all unlike Sly Con Valley …and oh do look at that CMU AI, Sly Con Valley ‘extension’ (Alien intelligence? ..excuse me? it is the minds of sociopaths, many of whom have set up camp at the Pentagon)) of Free Trade!!!!,….. can be truly deadly, as we both likely know ….)

      1. (for just one, way too many: K9! , sadistically trained Belgian Malinois[e] , and their sadistic owners; …. frisking around!, …. as if they were innocently grazing deer.)

  6. Um… good points, but Manning isn’t gay. That’s very different than trans. Agreed it doesn’t have anything to do with their whistleblowing.

  7. Having followed the story pretty closely and read the chat logs, I think Bradley Manning (allegedly) leaked to Wikileaks for political reasons, and later outed himself to Lamo out of some combination of stresses, which the gay/trans thing probably was a significant part.

    The leaking was done methodically and competently. The chat with Lamo was a disaster.

  8. Well said. He or she, ‘straight’ or ‘gay’, Manning is a better man than most. The official ideological organs (like the Times) love to explain away extraordinary and heroic actions as symptoms of personal pathology.

    1. (Trying a second time, the first time didn’t appear to even make the “moderation “ bin (and who would know, ..really, what sort of filters are going on as soon as one ‘posts’ a comment on ‘the net.’……Very sorry if it ends up appearing in duplicate)

      well I’m sure it would come as no surprise …if the upper echelons, at the [New York[!]] Times, were linked at the hip joint – let alone the Heart – of the upper echelons governing the APA (American Psychiatric A$$ociation) , which has proclaimed sadness, and mourning the death cult we live in, ………a$ .. a : Treatable, Mental Illne$$

      (for just one Upper Echelon APA A$piration$ commentary: Grief is good news for pharmaceutical companies. … ( ), of course, not emanating from the U$[“American”] pre$$.)

      1. hello diane, i’ve been
        trying to say .. hello here .. from our time at stop .. ( note of stop, do you have any idea why schumann b flat , not robert ,left there about the same time as myself ?) but if three comments in a row you make i can not , reply, said anne, to o’

      2. Hi Anne,

        No, Anne, I don’t know why he stopped posting, perhaps his personal life demanded more of his attention, I don’t know. I just hope he is doing well, I really think he’s a very caring and special person.

        I hope you and all of the other posters at Stop Me are all doing well also.

  9. i wish that i couldspe ak out of my ar se , said more feral .. . ,and fe /unlike the queen ,i don’t even poo p at a stoop,doe

  10. of just in . /”thank you arka ,you are perfe ct, / justin vanis’ed ,uv, around the time of my landing on io z, because he started writing to me at length at the time ,asking if he could come up here to visit with me , i let him ,i’m too nice ” “arka , needed to put my comment above in a few public places connected to ioz/jacobb. , of something of power and control , not of guns/ policing , but of the more able, not foot, soldiers of this on line , more in time on this if you will let me .. “”in from ‘er ..not a slut ..but need to walk , the wee hours / pen k o’ , have you removed my .. in just un just justin comment or did i not touch the send button ..somehow ?, -of monk’s atlas ,of justin’s need .. need to “…sometimes you have to get clumsy and incoherent for awhile.” —Justin “, of his going too far in his coherent but wrong minded babble on line .. on something said on line that it looks like he removed in my now looking back for it ,of a few weeks back i think .. , i did not say , but that led me to thoughts of .. don’t make me blog .., the most feminine wom. on the planet has had enough .., a response to what he wrote is going to be put more than on line .. . , i forgave him many times because of his high functioning autism , but not on this .. . /.. . no one paints an elephant quite as good as she ,not quoting “../This has got to ‘nd
    This has got to stop
    This has got to lie down
    Someone else on top/of m /en

    You can keep me pinned/ of to suggest a mus’ of ‘er pablo

    But you can’t paint an elephant
    Quite as good as sh e

    1. “i can’t believe that justin called me a sister .. , what a conceited american , south of ” .. .the only ones ,around here.. mentioned.., that i would call brothers (literally , of bones ,old ,with waves .., are ashley a boy’s name ( the first person that i talked with on line , thanks to what anais nin (yes still living ) and i share of promiscuity long .. (fuck him , i would like to ,(my mind calls him daddy long legs when i think of him every once and a while ) but only if it was okay with his lovely wif’ wife julie/good work , /, and of glenn gould ..soon ,no he did not try to sleep next to this lovely moving bach g,string , i was only fourte en , and he was a gentle man , like my family ) both of the go nor’ way , like myself , \ashley still stu born to that flow of go north ,further ,that is in his bones to mind bred, said the bird/doe /swan a swimming “

      1. ashley /a boy’s name , directed me over to an io z ‘versing of back and forth not forward wording of more than a few on io z , on a query i made to him on/of ron paul, i read from that fall on a bit here and ther’ , till my right hand held up over his image at the right on his old pg grew weary , i’m left handed so typing one leggedly with , the hand , right, held up because i am blinded by colo’r /weary ..i made the tease of ouch , this on the ..over muammar post , justin out of the blue/his blue attack me ..

  11. cut/ / he wrote something on line a few weeks back , then something must have made him remove it , because i could no longer find it when i looked back , it suggested that i had wanted him to come here , i did not suggest that he come , it was all of his wanting , needs , i’m too nice ,friendly ,loving ,caring ,.. / and then in what he wrote that he removed /,after suggesting that he felt badly ,(to the other man ) for attacking me on the over .. post , and then writing to me at length , and asking if he could come visit this lovely , bird, deer, drawing , disabled born , so gentle ,because he was so taken by something ofmy drawing and what my little bit of odd wording provoked , he wrote and wrote and wrote , til i agreed , / but of what he wrote a few weeks back but removed on his own , in what he wrote the suggest ..that a large , able bodied man /and so very tech able as well … . he wrote, a few weeks back , on line , something unforgivably wrong headed , that i would be more than grateful ,on behalf of all those born more physically disabled than myself , if someone very technical could find , of his wording , so that i may counter .. on it for a piece for the globe and mail here

  12. It’s ridiculous to restrict Manning’s gender turmoil to the “practical.” See, e.g., the letter about his identity problems which he wrote to his superior not long before his arrest:

    “This is my problem. I’ve had signs of it for a very long time. I’ve been trying very, very hard to get rid of it…

    “It is not going away. It is haunting me more and more as I get older. Now the consequences are getting harder.

    “I am not sure what to do with it. It’s destroying my ties with family. It is preventing me from developing as a person. . . . It’s the cause of my pain and confusion, and it turns the most basic things in my life to be very difficult.”

    Or, from his chats with Lamo:

    “8 months ago [i.e. when he arrived in Iraq], if you’d have asked me whether i wanted i would identify as female, i’d say you were crazy… that started to slip very quickly, as the stresses continued and piled up… i had about three breakdowns… successively worse, each one revealing more and more of my uncertainty and emotional insecurity… now… i spend a lot of time thinking of transitioning… im now very familiar with the process… and have a rough plan of how to get portions of it to work”

    That does not sound like someone merely occupied with practical concerns.

    Manning was clearly driven to leak primarily due to a political awakening he experienced upon arrival to Iraq. He saw abuse; he saw how he could help; he acted. He’s a hero.

    But to pretend that the emotional maelstrom of “loneliness and neediness” which occurred while he was leaking information to WikiLeaks—not only the mere reality of deployment far from home, but the devastating breakup with his first long-term boyfriend and, yes, his struggle with gender identity in a military ignorant of the problem—played no part in his decision to become a source to WikiLeaks is flabbergasting. And at the very least his psychic battle is relevant as a cause to that other action for which he is famous: his own tortured confession to someone he did not know, to whom he reached out to across the anonymizing divide of a chat window.

    I am a stalwart supporter of Manning’s actions in regard to WikiLeaks. I believe he has been treated dreadfully by the press. His is a complicated story, however. Let’s not simplify it.

    1. Your own excerpts belie your psychoanalysis, and your comment about anonymity and “chat windows” suggests a person totally unfamiliar with young people, gay people, online culture and conventions, or the online culture and conventions of young gay people. I was anonymously revealing my innermost secrets to strangers on IRC in the NINETIES!

      1. Blast it all:—you’ve seen right thru me. I knew that I should have employed Mr. Roosevelt’s fashionable spelling reforms, so that my deceitful, aged guise might fool your youthful sleuthing.

        Seriously, sorry for coming off as cross or rude. I really didn’t mean to. If you forgive my poor psychoanalysis too, I’ll overlook your linguistic: I’m a pretty young chap.

        Your analysis was more precise when it came to me not knowing much about the online culture and conventions of young gay people. And perhaps I shouldn’t comment on a post like this at all, or at least I should be more careful, given that. I’ve just been an avid follower (and supporter) of Manning these past few years, so the opinion rushed out of me.

        What I meant to say is: I don’t know much about transitioning, but I know what it’s like to feel lonely, to feel depressed. I supported what Manning did before I read his chats, but I was heartbroken when going through them, and sympathized even more strongly with him as a person because of them. Perhaps you’ll find that infantile—and a bad reading of his chats at that!—but that’s what I felt, and I might imagine that others have experienced the same. I thus don’t find it to be a terrible thing when he, or his leaking, is humanized.

        That said, we’ll see when this movie’s out. If it’s slander (like many of the articles out there indeed have been), I’ll be back to shit on it with the rest of you.

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