Conservatives respond to Chelsea Manning's commutation with transphobic vitriol

Abigail Edward holds up a sign advocating the release of WikiLeaks whistle blower Chelsea Manning along the Gay Pride parade route in San Francisco, California on Sunday, June, 26, 2016. / AFP / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AF
Source: JOSH EDELSON/gettyimages
Abigail Edward holds up a sign advocating the release of WikiLeaks whistle blower Chelsea Manning along the Gay Pride parade route in San Francisco, California on Sunday, June, 26, 2016. / AFP / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AF
Source: JOSH EDELSON/gettyimages

On Tuesday, after President Barack Obama commuted the sentence for Chelsea Manning, a transgender woman who is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified documents, many corners of the internet applauded the president's decision. 

That was not the case in the conservative media sphere, as noted by Media Matters. Many conservative pundits either chose to denigrate Manning's transgender identity or say that her identity was the sole reason she had been granted a commutation. 

Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the The Daily Wire, said on Twitter that traitors were bad whether they were "men or men who think they're women," deliberately mischaracterizing and denigrating Manning's trans identity. 

Self-proclaimed right-winger Matthew Vadum called Manning "he/she/it" and used Manning's dead name — a name a trans person no longer uses — to address her. He also later called her a transphobic slur. 

Blogger Matt Walsh, who recently directed homophobic comments toward beauty blogger Manny Gutierrez, also joined the chorus, falsely claiming that Manning "pretends to be a woman." 

The National Review's Jim Geraghty lumped Manning, a trans woman, in with other "bad guys" like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, and used a picture of Manning pre-transition.

Other piled on the insults — making fun of Manning's ongoing transition, making light of her time in prison and even claiming Manning has something called "trans privilege." 

While these pundits' cruelty certainly doesn't sour the victory of Manning and the legal team who advocated on her behalf, it does show that there's a long way to go when it comes to addressing transphobia in our current media landscape. 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Mathew Rodriguez

Mathew Rodriguez is a Staff Writer at Mic. He is a queer Latino New Yorker who enjoys female rappers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Flannery O'Connor. He is a former editor at TheBody.com and he is working on a memoir.

MORE FROM

Another sign marking a scene from Emmett Till's murder has been vandalized

It's at least the second time in the past year a sign marking Till's murder has been vandalized.

South Carolina woman faces charges for ripping Confederate battle flag off driver's truck

The woman reportedly backed into the owner's truck, then fled the scene.

These amazing photos marking the end of Ramadan show how Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Fitr

Twitter users flooded social media with selfies and family snaps.

Philando Castile's family reaches $3 million settlement with Minnesota police

The settlement is the latest in a string of multi-million-dollar payouts that have followed police-involved deaths of African-Americans.

Chance the Rapper demands justice for Chicago at BET Awards, with an assist from Michelle Obama

Two high-profile Chicago natives call for action.

Burned Quran stuffed with bacon found outside California mosque

This isn't the first time bacon has been used as an act of provocation against Muslims.

Another sign marking a scene from Emmett Till's murder has been vandalized

It's at least the second time in the past year a sign marking Till's murder has been vandalized.

South Carolina woman faces charges for ripping Confederate battle flag off driver's truck

The woman reportedly backed into the owner's truck, then fled the scene.

These amazing photos marking the end of Ramadan show how Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Fitr

Twitter users flooded social media with selfies and family snaps.

Philando Castile's family reaches $3 million settlement with Minnesota police

The settlement is the latest in a string of multi-million-dollar payouts that have followed police-involved deaths of African-Americans.

Chance the Rapper demands justice for Chicago at BET Awards, with an assist from Michelle Obama

Two high-profile Chicago natives call for action.

Burned Quran stuffed with bacon found outside California mosque

This isn't the first time bacon has been used as an act of provocation against Muslims.