Chelsea Manning sentence commuted

I got into the cab
the cab driver said
he recognized the girlie
from the back of her head


I mean all are reasonable comparisons, the one wrinkle being that there is an implied difference that isn’t true. Meaning that Muhammad Ali or Cassius Clay does not materially alter the nature of the competition he competed in. But Bruce Jenner and Caitlin Jenner imply different competitions, if you are not aware of the situation. Because Jenner competed as a male athlete, though identifies as female now. So the female name implicitly changes something about that past story.

Obviously familiarity with the situation does remedy that. Most, if not all of us, are familiar with Caitlin Jenners change, so we would not be confused by making such a statement. We would know that meant competing as a male. But as time goes on, and it fades into memory, it may not be true. Further there is the whole unresolved social question about how to treat transgendered athletes. Particularly male to female. And in 10 years that issue will probably be much more prominent, so the confusion may become more pronounced.


I’d say the difference to most people is that Muhammad Ali became Muhammad Ali in 1964 when he was 22. Most everyone knew him as Muhammad Ali for most of their lives while Caitlyn Jenner’s change didn’t officially occur until 2015. Plus, if we’re being honest, most people’s ability to grasp the idea that Bruce Jenner, the male Olympic decathalete that was on the Wheaties box, is now a woman, was challenged to the breaking point. Heck, I had a hard enough time with the idea that she was somehow in the Kardashian family.

Younger generations will likely have no issue with this because they will have grown up with Caitlyn Jenner being the celebrity.

Edit: Also @CraigM hits another point. Saying she won the gold medal does change things in most people’s minds.


It is interesting that we live in an age when science allows this level of medical manipulation. It’s almost as though “Bruce” was a chrysalis for Caitlyn, developing over the course of decades until Caitlyn was ready to emerge, to present the person she came to understand herself to be.

I think some of us older gamers had already wrestled a bit with recognizing a person’s core identity when Dan Bunten became Dani Bunten. I did, anyway. When it happened I had never really given the concept much thought and I had a hard time with it, to be honest. Why though, I don’t really remember. Guess I thought of gender and sexual identity as more fixed than they actually turned out to be.


I think it’s odd to suggest that we should refer to Caitlyn Jenner in a way that makes clear that she was the sole woman in her competition.

Is this really necessary? When we talk about Willie O’Ree’s career in the NHL, should we make sure to mention that he was the sole black guy in the league, because it “alters the nature of the competition”? Or is this just a gender thing, because we’ve all matured when it comes to race?

[quote=“Telefrog, post:123, topic:128062”]
Younger generations will likely have no issue with this because they will have grown up with Caitlyn Jenner being the celebrity.[/quote]

Yes, I understand that people may have difficulty accepting Caitlyn Jenner, but likewise many people who grew up with Cassius Clay had difficulty with Muhammad Ali. It looks silly in retrospect, and that’s why the standard protocol does make sense.


Not so much, but then again I didn’t know his actual name until I was a lot older.
Also somewhat what Telefrog said.


Do you not think there is a materially different level of competition between mens and womens sports, especially at the olympic level?

Yes, this is specifically a gender thing, one that we as a society will have to grapple with. Even those of us who have no issue with transgendered people can very reasonably be uncomfortable or uncertain about how that will play out in athletic competition. We separate, and endorse separating, competitors by gender for a reason. Is it so impossible to envision a future where transgendered women athletes dominate the womens track and field while transgendered male athletes dominate gymnastics?

So, yes, I do think that in the context of high level athletic competition, that transgendered is materially different from race, because it alters the nature of competition. Being the sole black athlete does not change the competition, however it can change the way that the sport is covered and fans react. I mean we still have Jackie Robinson day in baseball for a reason. Not every mention of him needs to include his race, but it would be disingenuous to pretend it is not a notable factor that shaped his career, and his place within the league. And it is something worth celebrating.

It’s not a simple answer, and really more people knew Caitlyn from being a reality star than an athlete. But when discussing her Olympic achievements is it so bad to note she competed in the mens competition? Because transgendered former Olympic athlete is different from transgendered Olympic athlete competing as their chosen gender.


Yes, also, it would really be up to her on what she would want to go by.

But this is a really odd situation actually. That was a historical event. And I would suspect historically accurate documents would probably still list Bruce Jenner as the athlete that won the contest, as I am sure the printed medals/trophies all say that.

But, I think in conversation you should probably say that Caitlyn Jenner won. If you were writing a historical piece about the event, you probably should refer to Caitlyn as Bruce, with annotations that her name is now Caitlyn Jenner.

Odd situation. I am not a Trans person, but I am a nerdy history nitpicker, so I suppose if I were ever going to transition, I would be cool with people using my dead name. But, I think it is up to the individual to some point.


Is it so impossible to envision a future where black athletes dominate certain sports?

Let me just pause to say that I haven’t really studied the effect of race and gender on athletic ability, and I don’t really care either way. Because even if it were proven that a particular gender, race, ethnicity, or cultural background has a natural advantage or disadvantage in a given sport (which, I am obligated to add, is not necessarily genetic), that would not mean that this needs to be addressed every time we refer to the winner. Nor does it mean that we need to identify people who are disadvantaged in order to make a separate league for them (which, by the way, can never really ensure a level playing field). Winning is not the most important thing.

So for now we have a system of competition that segregates by gender, and predictably it will collide with reality. I hope that one day pointing out that Jenner competed in the men’s league will be as awkward as pointing out that Babe Ruth competed in the white guy league.


I’m fine with that.


The outcome was pretty favorable in terms of highlighting and curbing abuses by the military, so … I would say there was a good reason?


It’s the way I feel, though I make it clear I do not support how the military treated her, and that because of that I believe commutation was reasonable. I do understand why the trans community views her as a hero, and I hope the trans community understands why veterans may feel otherwise.

I also point out that I think she made it worse for transfolk who are serving,of which I knew a couple.


It doesn’t really matter; if you are trans in the military you are already in a Full Metal Jacket esque “world of shit.” She was already effectively dead, and absolutely would have died in custody had the sentence not been commuted. A minor miracle.

What matters is the actual outcome: did the public benefit? I understand the military is there to protect itself above all, and that is all the military cares about, but I believe the public outcome is far more important and relevant.


If I throw a grenade into a crowd and kill a child molester in the process, I guess you could pretend I did a good thing.


Did the public benefit from releasing a traitor who acted irresponsibly, risking the welfare of our soldiers?

No, I do not believe so.

The fact that they are transsexual is completely immaterial to all of this.


Our government is corrupt. Our military is corrupt.

I believe leaks that highlight abuses in either institution are welcome.

And of course the military is going to cry “traitor” and try to protect itself at all costs. Same way cops close ranks around their accidents and indiscretions. It’s bullshit.


Well, our guys in uniform die for you even if you don’t respect them, so you do you.


How do you feel about Bowe Bergdahl?


You sign up for that when you become a soldier. If the possibility of death is a problem, then you are not much of a soldier.

Furthermore, if the military didn’t engage in abuses, or was more honest with the public, then leaks wouldn’t be necessary in the first place. That blame belongs squarely on the shoulders of the generals making those questionable calls — not Manning.


Hmmm… who else have I heard saying that recently?