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Private Manning Says, “Call Me Bambi”

Army private Bradley Manning, convicted of passing classified documents to WikiLeaks, has changed his mind again.

Last week he said he considered himself to be a woman, wanted to be referred to as Chelsea, and asked news organizations to refer to him using the new name and the feminine pronoun.

After further reflection over the last few days, Manning has decided that he is neither a man nor a woman. The convicted soldier now claims to be an androgynous deer named Bambi and wants to be referred to with the neuter pronoun.

As reported at Politico.com:

Starting tomorrow, The New York Times and the Associated Press will refer to Bradley Manning as Bambi Manning, “formerly known as Pfc. Bradley Manning,” honoring the former soldier’s request to be considered a deer. Thereafter Manning will be referred to as “it.”

“Our deputy editor in charge of copy desks has sent out a message to let folks here know we will make the change tomorrow,” said Greg Brock, the Times’ senior editor for standards. A Times representative also confirmed the change.

In an e-mail to member editors, the AP announced that it too would be making the change: “The Associated Press will henceforth use Pvt. Bambi Manning and neuter pronouns for the soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning, in accordance with its wishes to live as a deer,” the e-mail stated.

Manning announced last week its intention to live as a woman named Chelsea Manning. At the time, Manning asked that “starting today you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.” Now Manning says it has had a change of heart and considers itself to be neither a man nor a woman but a deer.

Initial reports about Manning’s announcement by the Times, the Associated Press, and others referred to Manning as a male, though the AP stylebook states that media outlets should use “the pronoun preferred by the individual,” suggesting a forthcoming change to the neuter.

(Note: The original Politico.com report, written by Dylan Byers, appeared on August 26. On April 1 I made minor modifications so the text would correspond with this ongoing story’s latest developments.)

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