*Trigger warning – transphobia, misogyny, mentions of rape*
“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.”
We are here tonight because we support Chelsea Manning. We support her fight for justice, against a US government which is punishing her for their crimes. We also support her right to be recognised as female, to transition, and to have that transition respected by all.
Unfortunately, we have reason to believe that Ciaron O’Reilly – a main organiser of tonight’s event – does not support Chelsea Manning in the same way that we do, and we intend to protest against that.
Ciaron O’Reilly has repeatedly refused to accept a trans women’s gender identity, publicly labelling one “a bloke in a dress” and shouting “you are a man” at another. When told he had misgendered Chelsea Manning by naming her “Bradley”, he responded “The only Chelsea is Chelsea Clinton.”
O’Reilly also has a consistently disrespectful attitude to women in general. At various events over the past year he has called women “empty headed”, “unable to construct an argument”, told them to go to the crèche. He also dismissed a woman with Pakistani immigrant parents as “imperialist”, chanting “pure land, pure land” at her when she criticised his transphobia and misogyny.
Furthermore, Ciaron O’Reilly is Julian Assange’s ex-bodyguard, and continues to dismiss anybody who criticises the rapist as pro-US government. It is possible to oppose US imperialism, support Chelsea Manning, and believe that Julian Assange should pay for what he has admitted (through his barrister Ben Emmerson) to doing.
This is our position, and we will be expressing it tonight.