Manning Granted Name Change

Bradley Edward Manning is now officially Chelsea Elizabeth Manning. A Kansas judge granted the name change request to the U.S. Army private who is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence in Fort Leavenworth for leaking classified documents. In a statement, Manning said the name change, while meaningful personally, “can also raise awareness of the fact that we (transgender) people exist everywhere in America today and we must jump through hurdles every day just for being who we are.” Manning, 26, was convicted last summer of violations of the Espionage Act for a massive document dump to the website WikiLeaks.

Collins one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People

Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in the National Basketball Association, was selected by Time Magazine for its “100 Most Influential” list. Collins’ profile was written by Chelsea Clinton, who remarked, “I met Jason Collins when we were freshmen at Stanford. Not surprisingly, the first thing I noticed was his height. The second thing I noticed was his kindness off the court — and his fierceness on it.” Collins, 35, has been a reliable contributor off the bench this season for the Brooklyn Nets, who are currently battling the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Hep C Drug Smashing Records

In its first quarter 2014 financial results, Gilead Sciences, Inc. announced its new hepatitis C drug, Solvadi, generated nearly $2.3 billion in sales. The announcement stunned market analysts and company officials. Gilead, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Foster City, Calif., claims Solvadi is a breakthrough treatment for a liver disease that inflicts 130 million people globally, including three million Americans. Insurers, lawmakers and patients, however, are critical of the acquisition price of $84,000 or $1,000 per daily pill for 12 weeks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of Solvadi last December and the European Union followed in January.

Damiano to Direct Theater Awards Contest

Mary Damiano, SFGN’s award-winning arts and entertainment writer, has been named managing director of the Carbonell Awards. For nearly 40 years, the Carbonell Awards have honored the best in live professional regional theater. The awards are named in honor of master sculptor Manuel Carbonell, an internationally acclaimed artist from Cuba, who at 92 years of age continues to apply his craft, talent and skills. Damiano, a Broward County freelance journalist, has covered the theater scene extensively for 15 years. Her articles have appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, New Times,,, She Magazine and, of course, SFGN. For more information, visit