Chelsea Manning | Military | Transgender | TransMilitary

Pentagon Accused Of Transphobic 'Strategic Leak' Over Rumors Of Chelsea Manning's Medical Care

The AP recently reported that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel may transfer convicted Wikileaker  rivate Chelsea Manning from her current incarceration in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to a civilian prison so that she may receive hormone therapy and other necessary transgender medical care.

ManningManning came out as a trans-female after being sentenced to 35 years in a military prison for leaking classified military documents. She currently resides in a male-only U.S. Disciplinary Barracks and it’s unclear whether she would be transferred to a male or female civilian prison, if moved at all.

Manning’s lawyer David E. Coombs expressed skepticism over the validity of the AP report and its sourcing of "unnamed Pentagon officials 'who were not authorized to speak on the matter.'” Coombs even went so far as to accuse the Pentagon of a transphobia and a “strategic leak” in an attempt to frighten Manning into withdrawing her request for medical care:

It is common knowledge that the federal prison system cannot guarantee the safety and security of Chelsea in the way that the military prison system can. Accordingly, Chelsea would face the “choice” between receiving necessary medical treatment but potentially jeopardizing her personal safety, or not receiving necessary medical treatment but ensuring her personal safety.

Coombs is correct in his concern for Manning’s safety. According to Just Detention International, 59 percent of transgender adult inmates get sexually abused, nearly 15 times more often than cisgender inmates.

Even though the army has an agreement with the Bureau of Prisons that results in 15 to 20 military prisoners a year being sent to civilian prisons for different reasons, the army  sends only prisoners who have exhausted their military appeals and been discharged from the service — Manning has done neither. Denying her a baseline of transgender medical care however could be construed as “cruel and unusual punishment” and create a legal headache for the military if they ignore Manning's request for care.

Since the Department of Defense still forbids transgender citizens from openly serving in the military and therefore does not provide transgender medical treatment at all, making an exception in Manning’s case could set a precedent for the care of trans servicemembers in military custody.

Zack Ford of Think Progress — who questions the precedence-setting potential of this case — noted that Manning could still access medical care if the military revises its stance on trans-exclusion, if Manning abandons her conviction appeal or if the military grants her a transfer for medical reasons.

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. I would sympathize if she was transitioning pre arrest and thus it would be a case of continuing medical treatment

    wanting to transition after arrest on the tax payer dime doesn't illicit sympathy

    Posted by: Moz's | May 15, 2014 8:02:51 PM

  2. what is exactly transphobic?

    not sure why this is of any interest to gay men any. I know I don't care what prison he goes to or how his "transition" is coming along

    Posted by: Homo Genius | May 15, 2014 8:56:54 PM

  3. Dan Villarreal, when are you going to do a post speculating about what kind of sex partner Chelsea is into? That's what you wrote about Tyler Clementi, so why not do the same "transgressive" writing about Chelsea? Huh? How about it, fearless queer?

    Posted by: Derrick | May 15, 2014 11:11:19 PM

  4. Hopefully Congress will step in and override the Pentagon on this. It is disgusting to think that the American people will have to pay for this vile individual to get his wang chopped off. Manning should be doing hard labor, not lounging in a medical facility getting a fake kitty.

    At some point, some prison official will fight these transgender demands and the 8th Amendment claims will be resolved the Supreme Court. I don't think SCOTUS would recognize a constitutional right to breast and butt implants.

    Posted by: Thomas H. | May 15, 2014 11:27:54 PM

  5. Thiis person has issues. Come back as someone I feel I can support. Otherwise, please get help.

    Posted by: AZXPAT | May 16, 2014 12:45:48 AM

  6. She was not getting treatment prior to be being jailed.

    Why should the taxpayer foot the bill for her treatment now.

    Is she les or bi?

    If not then why is this story of any interest to LGB people. LGB and T are separate issues and their concerns are not LGB concerns.

    Drop the T.

    Posted by: MaryM | May 16, 2014 4:37:54 AM

  7. Guys, its health care. You can't lock someone up and not give them access to health care.

    Posted by: Usagi-chan | May 16, 2014 9:19:20 AM

Post a comment


« «Gay Pair Are British Zoo's 'Best Penguin Parents'« «