The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

August 23, 2013

Manning's gender transition sets up legal showdown

(Continued)

Manning also has found little sympathy among transgender veterans. Kristin Beck, a former Navy SEAL who began transitioning to life as a woman early this year, said on her Facebook page Thursday that "Manning is a tarnish on my dream" of equality for all.

The American Veterans for Equal Rights — an organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender services members and veterans — said in a statement it condemns the action of any soldier who would publicize information that could endanger service members' lives.

But former Army Lt. Dan Choi, a Manning supporter discharged for coming out as gay during the "don't ask, don't tell" era, said military LGBT advocacy groups would embrace Manning's quest if they could look objectively at the diplomatic duplicity and callousness toward civilian casualties the leaks exposed.

"I'm going to keep pushing, not just to the gay community but to all communities, because this is what the gay community should be about — must be about — is a declassification of your own closetedness, that is our main goal," Choi said in a telephone interview from Washington.

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Associated Press writers Pauline Jelinek and Lolita Baldor in Washington and John Milburn in Topeka, Kan., contributed to this report.

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