Who Interfered in Manning’s Gender?

Certain Assumptions Are So Painful Society Chooses to Hide Them

When a journalist for The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, referred to Charles Manning as a ‘she’ on Twitter, I commented that Manning is technically still a ‘he’. It provoked Greenwald to classify myself as a sort of Untermensch, a being undeserving of participating in public debate,

“It takes a very warped sickness to want to interfere in and dictate other people’s gender identity. You should focus on that.”

There is a good dose of latent irony in that statement. Of course, it wasn’t I who had interfered in Manning’s gender nor had I dictated what it ought to be. However, I did refuse to call people by whatever made-up gender they’ve come to identify themselves with, other than their birth sex, either male or female.

Why won’t I go along with other people’s fiction of themselves like a proper liberal would? It’s partly because I refuse to go along with other people’s psychological problems. More importantly, I am convinced that people who invent their own gender are suffering from a psychological and not from a physical problem.

In terms of Manning’s imprisonment, I believe ‘Chelsea’ should be pardoned and released from prison as soon as possible. But unlike Greenwald, I don’t believe people are born with a transgender psyche. In fact, I believe it was our society that first interfered with Manning’s gender by disapproving of his birth sex, i.e. by making him aware that he was unwanted as a boy and that he would be loved more if he had been a girl. Perhaps a traumatic life experience triggered Manning to hide his original male identity in favor of a female one.

Where Greenwald and I hold a difference of opinion thus comes down to us having made different assumptions about the world. But these assumptions remain unchallenged on both sides. We should, therefore, be able to discuss those assumptions openly.

I find it a “warped sickness” that our society has trapped many so-called transgenders in a gender that was never really of their own choosing. For example, a disappointed parent may feel entitled to play God and choose his child’s gender. I don’t consider that progress, but rather a crime against children if not against humanity.

In Greenwald’s world, such a child cannot escape its conditioning. Condemned to a life of psychological suffering, the Mannings of our world must hide their true selves behind the mask of desirable behavior. I believe men like Manning should receive recognition for their suffering. Society should protect transgenders not only against their original abusers but also against themselves.

By offering transgenders a way out of their artificially induced gender trap, I believe my assumptions about them are more progressive than Greenwald’s.

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