Chelsea Manning to Trump: "We Will Not Be Erased or Ignored"
The transgender activist and former soldier responded to Trump's proposed transgender military ban in an op-ep for the New York Times.
"The sudden reversal by the administration, from allowing trans people to serve openly in the military to outright banning us, is a devastating blow to our livelihoods, our basic humanity, our survival," writes Manning. Manning, a transgender soldier who served seven years in military prison for leaking classified information before being pardoned by former President Obama, has been an outspoken activist since coming out. In her editorial, she tells Trump that "trans people in the military are here to stay."
She speaks about the anti-transgender laws sweeping the United States, not only affecting the military but also civilians.
"We are the ethereal enemy of the moment," writes Manning. "Even though there is a medical consensus, a legal consensus, a military consensus that none of this is true."
She says that transgender people are suffering "systemic discrimination" and that when transgender people were allowed to serve openly in the military, it was a sign of progress that the president is reacting to. "But we will move forward. We will make sure that all trans people in the military, and all people outside the military after serving, receive the medical care they need. We will not back down. Our progress will continue. Our organizing and activism will grow stronger," she says.
In conclusion, Manning writes, "We are neither disruptive nor expensive. We are human beings, and we will not be erased or ignored."
On Thursday, a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent a note to all service chiefs, commanders and enlisted military leaders saying that the policy on transgender individuals in the military has not changed. The note said the policy will only change when Defense Secretary Jim Mattis receives the president's policy direction and then determines implementation.
Also on Thursday, Manning shared a photo of herself joining the White House demonstrators who had gathered to protest the ban. "Figured i would show my face at the new ground zero of the war on trans people," wrote Manning, who has taken to her social media accounts to react to Trump's move since it was announced on Wednesday.
Read her full op-ed here.