The Associated Press policy as stated in the AP Stylebook is to comply with the gender identity preference of an individual.
At this time, the AP is seeking more details about the gender change statement attributed to Pfc. Bradley Manning that was read Thursday on the “Today” show in the presence of defense attorney David Coombs. The typewritten statement said “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female,” and asked supporters to use “my new name and use the feminine pronoun” in gender references to the U.S. Army soldier. Manning’s lawyers had raised the issue of gender identity during the trial, but Thursday’s statement went further.
Manning was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in Leavenworth military prison for providing secret U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks, the anti-establishment website.
With Manning in custody and unavailable to comment, the AP is seeking additional information about the statement from Coombs, who did not immediately respond to email and telephone messages.
For the time being, AP stories will use gender-neutral references to Manning and provide the pertinent background on the transgender issue. However, when reporting is completed, the AP Stylebook entry on “transgender” will be AP’s guide.
That stylebook entry states: “Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly. ”