POLITICS

Chelsea Manning On Orlando Shooting: 'Thoughts And Prayers Alone' Won't Protect Us

"We are not safe and secure when the government uses us as pawns to perpetrate violence against others."

Chelsea Manning, a transgender former Army intelligence analyst serving 35 years in a military prison for leaking government documents to Wikileaks, weighed in on the Orlando shooting in an op-ed for The Guardian published Monday, saying "thoughts and prayers alone" won't protect the LGBT community.

"I haven’t been this angry since losing a soldier in my unit to an RPG attack in southeastern Baghdad during my deployment in Iraq in 2010," wrote Manning, who was assigned male at birth and diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2014.

Manning shared her own experience of exploring her queer identity though the club scenes in Chicago and Washington, D.C., calling clubs like Pulse, where 49 people were killed and 53 others were injured Sunday, "our sanctuary."

"We find solace and sanctuary in the club because we are so often expelled from other public spaces – from bathrooms, from street corners, from jobs, from history," she wrote.

She cautioned against using the Orlando shooting -- the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history -- as an opening for Islamophobic or xenophobic beliefs.

"Current proposals for hate crime laws and terrorism enhancements only take more power away from our community," Manning wrote. "We consolidate power with law enforcement only to have those same mechanisms turned against us."

"We are not safe and secure when the government uses us as pawns to perpetrate violence against others," Manning added. "Our safety and security will come when we organize, love and resist together."

Read Manning's op-ed at The Guardian.

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