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.