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Chelsea Manning Says Military Is Still Denying Her Gender Reassignment Treatment

Manning

Convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning has released a statement from prison saying that the military has given her nothing but "lip service" regarding the gender-reassignment treatment that she asked for this time last year. 

NBC News reports:

In an exclusive statement to NBC News, the former Army private once known as Bradley Manning said life in the military lockup at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has restricted her ability to express her gender identity. "For example, in my daily life, I am reminded of this when I look at the name on my badge, the first initial sewed into my clothing, the hair and grooming standards that I adhere to, and the titles and courtesies used by the staff. Ultimately, I just want to be able to live my life as the person that I am, and to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin."

Last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Manning would receive "rudimentary treatment" for her gender transition. Manning's lawyers, however, have said that the military has failed to carry out Hagel's recommendations. Her lawyers announced last week that they will sue the military if the Army fails to provide manning with treatment by September 4. 

Read Manning's statement HERE


ACLU to Sue Military If Chelsea Manning Isn't Given Appropriate Medical Treatment

Manning

ACLU lawyers for convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning have announced they will sue the military if the Army fails to provide Manning with appropriate medical treatment by September 4. 

Buzzfeed reports:

“Our constitution requires that the government provide medically necessary care to the individuals it holds in its custody,” Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, said in a statement. “It is cruel and unusual punishment to withhold from Ms. Manning the care that the military’s own doctors have deemed medically necessary. The Army is withholding her care for political reasons, which is simply not permitted by our Constitution.”

In a letter dated Aug. 11, Manning’s lawyers note “[t]he Army’s continued indifference to Ms. Manning’s serious medical need for treatment, despite the recommendations of the Army’s own medical providers.”

Last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Manning would receive "rudimentary treatment" for her gender transition. 


Chelsea Manning Will Receive 'Rudimentary' Gender Transition Healthcare: VIDEO

Chelsea manning

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced that convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning will receive “rudimentary treatment” for her gender transition, reports Transgender Law Center (TLC).

Although it is unclear what specific treatment Manning will be allowed, TLC says:

“It is critical that all transgender people, including those who are incarcerated and detained, have access to life-saving health care. Transgender Law Center will continue to urge the Department of Defense that ‘rudimentary’ treatments include all health care treatments defined as medically-necessary by the preeminent health care organizations including the American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association.”

According to The Washington Post, “the gender treatment provided by the military could include allowing Manning to wear some female garments and also potentially provide hormone treatments.”

In May, we reported that Hagel was considering moving Manning from her current incarceration in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to a civilian prison so that she could receive hormone therapy and other necessary transgender medical care. Hagel said in May that he is open to reviewing the military’s ban on transgender service members

Watch the Washington Post report, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "Chelsea Manning Will Receive 'Rudimentary' Gender Transition Healthcare: VIDEO" »


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.


Chelsea Manning Receives Approval For Legal Name Change

Manning

Chelsea Manning may have been sentenced to 35 years for her involvement in the Wikileaks scandal, but at least she is one step closer to officially serving her time as the woman she identifies as. As part of the longer game to receive hormone therapy for a full transition, Chelsea petitioned to have her name legally changed. On Wednesday a Kansas judge approved the appeal for "Bradley Manning" to be changed to "Chelsea Elizabeth Manning". In a statement on her name change, Chelsea said:

It’s worth noting that in both mail and in-person, I’ve often been asked, “Why are you changing your name?” The answer couldn’t be simpler: because it’s a far better, richer, and more honest reflection of who I am and always have been –a woman named Chelsea.

It should be noted that this change will not compel the military to begin treating Chelsea as a woman and she presently remains as an inmate at the male-only U.S. Disciplinary Barracks.

Portrait of Chelsea Manning by Alicia Neal via the Chelsea Manning Support Network.


Seeking Hormone Therapy, Convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning Petitions For Name Change

Convicted Wikileaker Private Chelsea Manning has petitioned a Kansas court for a legal name change to match her female identity. The day after she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for violating the Espionage Act, Manning released a statement announcing her transgender identity.

Chelsea_manningManning is seeking the name change as part of a longer battle to secure hormone therapy during her time in incarceration. The New York Times has more:

Manning has asked to receive hormone replacement therapy and live as a woman while incarcerated... [and] will go to court, if necessary, to obtain the hormone treatment.

Civilian federal prisons are required to provide such treatment, if deemed medically necessary, for inmates diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Unlike in military prisons, the policy also allows inmates who believe they are the wrong gender to dress and live accordingly as part of their individual treatment plans.

The military has said it does not provide treatment for gender dysphoria because Pentagon policy dictates that transgender soldiers are not allowed to serve.

According to Lauren McNamara (aka Zinnia Jones) — an activist, friend and former defense witness for Chelsea Manning — civilian courts have found in almost all cases that prisons are required to provide hormone therapy and increasingly surgery as well for trans inmates. If Manning succeeds in her quest to receive hormone treatment and other trans accomodations, she could help set a precedent for future trans soldiers both in and out of prison. 


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