Considering all the LGBTQ people running for office this year, it’s easy to see the queer community as some sort of sleeper cell — a dormant network of gay spies only stimulated to action by the election of one Donald J. Trump. That being said, the most recent sleeper spy to answer the call is Chelsea Manning, a.k.a. the trans activist (tractivist?) who went to prison in 2013 for sharing sensitive government documents with Wikileaks.
Manning is one of four Democratic candidates who have filed to run for the Senate in Maryland, since incumbent Democrat Senator Ben Cardin, 74, has not announced he will seek a third term.
You may recall that Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, was sentenced to 35 years in prison at the time of her conviction, before coming out as transgender while behind bars and then receiving an expedited release from President Obama. Her name was Bradley Manning at the time of conviction.
It’s easy to see Manning’s decision to run as part of a larger trend of LGBTQ running for office since Trump was elected. In November 2017, Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person to be elected to office and serve in a legislative body. There also seems to be a wave of queer and trans politicians announcing their candidacies in 2018, with Ashlee Marie Preston recently making headlines, and Texas reportedly having at least 42 LGBTQ candidates running for office in 2018.
Hopefully the wave of queer and trans people running for office will have better luck tapping into anti-Trump sentiment than American Horror Story: Cult did. Remember when that was supposed to be the #1 antidote to the ongoing nightmare that is our country, but then it wasn’t? Yeah, hopefully this isn’t that.
Manning released a campaign video Sunday evening. The clip has a somber tone and Manning is not sugar-coating her reason for running. “We live in trying times — times of fear, suppression, hate… We need to stop expecting that our systems will somehow fix themselves. We need to actually take the reins of power from them. We need to challenge them at every level. We need to fix this. We don’t need them anymore. We can do better. You’re damn right we got this.” Take a look: