I definitely want to refer to Manning as Chelsea and use female pronouns whenever talking about her, but in this case I used “Bradley” as part of the setup–the characters in the comic find out about the gender issue at the moment the narrator says it. I get why mentions of Manning’s previous identity are annoying to people, but I thought it was worth the trade off here. Poly Pagan suggested using “Private Manning” in the first panel, which would have had the same effect. Makes sense to me.
If you were following the Manning story closely, you probably weren’t surprised by the announcement that she is transgender and identifies as Chelsea. Chat logs released from Manning’s time in the military said as much but she didn’t announce it until now for what seem to me obvious reasons. The backlash from idiots and confusion with gender pronouns was pretty predictable, but this had the added magnitude of Manning’s leaks behind them. People who supported the trillion dollar Iraq War were deeply concerned a few dollars might be spent on gender therapy. Meanwhile media outlets that offered zero coverage of Manning’s leaks like the “Collateral Murder” video, wrote articles about their internal debates on how to handle pronouns.