There was an interesting story in today’s New York Times discussing the sexual orientation of Bradley Manning, the young soldier who allegedly leaked war papers on the war in Afghanistan. The papers, published on Wikileaks.org, caused a national uproar and Manning is currently in jail, living in solitary confinement and suicide watch.
The article goes into rich detail about his sexual orientation and the role it played in his life. This included being made fun of in school and falling in love with a classical music playing drag queen. Here are a few excerpts:
He spent part of his childhood with his father in the arid plains of central Oklahoma, where classmates made fun of him for being a geek. He spent another part with his mother in a small, remote corner of southwest Wales, where classmates made fun of him for being gay.
Then he joined the Army, where, friends said, his social life was defined by the need to conceal his sexuality under “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” and he wasted brainpower fetching coffee for officers.
Former students at his school there, Tasker Milward, remembered Private Manning being teased for all sort of reasons. His American accent. His love of Dr Pepper. The amount of time he spent huddled before a computer.
And then, students began to suspect he was gay.
Sometimes, former classmates said, he reacted to the teasing by idly boasting about stealing other students’ girlfriends. At other times, he openly flirted with boys. Often, with only the slightest provocation, he would launch into fits of rage.
“It was probably the worst experience anybody could go through,” said Rowan John, a former classmate who was openly gay in high school. “Being different like me, or Bradley, in the middle of nowhere is like going back in time to the Dark Ages.”
Then his father found out he was gay and kicked him out of the house, friends said. Mr. Clark, the Cambridge friend, said Private Manning told him he lived out of his car briefly while he worked in a series of minimum-wage retail jobs.
Make sure you read the entire story. It is quite interesting.