You may recall that Teen Vogue recently published a teenage girl’s guide to anal sex, and has repeatedly encouraged its young female readers to buy vibrators and learn how to masturbate. It also recently recommended vibrators for back-to-school solo sex play. Now, its parent magazine, Vogue, offers up more proof of how deeply decadent our civilization is: a gushy profile of Chelsea Manning. Excerpts:
In prison, she read the fashion press (“I missed seven years of fashion, but I went through every season in a magazine!”), and while she’s embraced her femininity, she eschews what she calls “fertility style”—“bunnies and hearts and stuff”—for more current, gender-neutral garments. While serving out her sentence, she got her hands on photos from Barneys’ 2014 trans campaign, shot by Bruce Weber. “That was a really important thing for me to see,” she says.
Manning was in prison for
treasonous acts of espionage committed while a soldier. More:
It’s a June afternoon, and we are sitting in a park along the Hudson River, a short walk from the sleek Tribeca building where Manning has been living since arriving in New York. Today she is dressed with a mixture of straightforward elegance and function: a casual black sleeveless Marc Jacobs dress with playful paisley lining, a small purse from The Row, Borderline boots by Vetements x Dr. Martens, and—the cinching touch—a black utility belt from 5.11 Tactical, a gear company that supplies law enforcement and the military. “I’ve been a huge fan of Marc Jacobs for many, many years, even going back to when I was wearing men’s clothing,” she explains. “He captures a kind of simplicity and a kind of beauty that I like—projecting strength through femininity.”
The story ends with Manning and his transgender lawyer Chase Strangio visiting an elderly drag queen named Flawless Sabrina:
“It’s not easy to change the world,” Flawless chirps. She draws Strangio close. “I am so proud of you,” she says, and gives him a tight hug.
Manning comes next. Flawless wraps her aged arms around her small frame. “Thank you so much,” she whispers, so softly that Manning may not hear. “Thank you so much.” When Manning stands, she moves briskly toward the door. Flawless’s eyes are wet with tears.
The gay journalist Jamie Kirchick isn’t having any of it. Not sure how he got that piece published in The New York Times, but boy, is it strong. Excerpts:
When Ms. Manning transmitted 750,000 secret military records and State Department cables to WikiLeaks in 2010, she not only jeopardized continuing missions and disrupted American diplomacy. She also put an untold number of innocent people’s lives in danger.
According to The New Yorker, when the United States tried to locate “hundreds” of Afghans named in the documents and move them to safety, “many could not be found, or were in environments too dangerous to reach.” When pressed by a journalist about the possibility of redacting the names of Afghans who cooperated with the United States military, Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, reportedly replied: “Well, they’re informants. So, if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.”
Meantime, Mr. Assange gave a Russian Holocaust denier 90,000 of the cables. That man, who goes by the pen name Israel Shamir, delivered a trove to the Belarussian dictatorship, which then utilized the material to detain opposition activists. In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe used a leaked cable detailing a United States Embassy meeting with opposition figures as pretext for an investigation into “treasonous collusion.”
But progressives have treated Manning as a “folk hero,” says Kirchick. This is especially true, he says, of the gay press. More:
Celebrating Chelsea Manning just a few years after gay and transgender people were permitted to serve openly in the military discredits the L.G.B.T. cause. Throughout most of the 20th century, homosexuality was associated with treason and used as a basis for purging gay people from government jobs, denying them security clearances and restricting their service in the armed forces. The decision by Ms. Manning’s defense team to argue that untreated gender dysphoria was a factor in her decision to leak classified information unwittingly aids those who say that L.G.B.T. people cannot be trusted in sensitive government jobs. And it dishonors the L.G.B.T. people who have served in the military throughout history without betraying their country.
It would be hard to find a less convincing advocate for transgender military service than someone convicted of violating the Espionage Act. The cognitive dissonance required of L.G.B.T. activists in celebrating Ms. Manning while denouncing Donald Trump’s transgender military ban is considerable, not least in the case of Ms. Manning herself, who simultaneously condemns the ban while also tweeting that “we need to dismantle the military/police state,” without appearing to recognize the contradiction. (Ms. Manning is a prolific Tweeter whose blithe, emoji-laden missives read like the doodles of a freshman peace studies major and belie her portrayal as the moral conscience of our time.)
Read the whole thing. Even if you think Manning did the right thing by leaking state secrets, and even if you think Manning ought to have been pardoned [UPDATE: Readers correctly point out that his sentence was commuted. — RD] and released, the idea that he is some kind of hero because he’s living as a woman is depraved. Kirchick’s op-ed is aptly titled “When Transgender Trumps Treachery”. Is there anything that LGBT status cannot trump in the eyes of the media? Can they ever do wrong?
You would not have seen an Esquire profile about how gay Soviet spy and defector Guy Burgess kept up appearances by ordering Savile Row suits from his asylum in Stalin’s Moscow. But ours was a different country back then.