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U.S. Army Court of Appeals Rules Military Can No Longer Refer to Chelsea Manning as a Man

Manning

Private First Class Chelsea Manning will be referred to using feminine and / or gender neutral pronouns in accordance with a ruling handed down by the United States Army Court of Appeals, Politico reports.

Manning, formerly known as Bradley, began her process of transitioning after being convicted for sharing state secrets and violating the Espionage Act of 1917. Manning, faced with a 35 year-long sentence, started agitating for her transition not long after being incarcerated.

With the help of representation from the ACLU, Manning has been pressing the military to assist with her full transition while incarcerated since 2014. In August of last year the ACLU threatened legal action if Manning was not provided with the appropriate hormone therapies necessary to assist in her physical transitioning. Last month Manning's request was officially accepted by the U.S. army at the approval of Colonel Erica Nelson:

"After carefully considering the recommendation that [hormone treatment] is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I approve adding [hormone treatment] to Inmate Manning's treatment plan," Nelson explained during one of Manning’s most recent trials."

Going forward it remains to be seen how receptive the U.S. army will be to Manning’s request for full physical reassignment.


This Day in the Life of a Gay Couple on a Military Base Shows How Far We've Come Since 2011: VIDEO

Military

It wasn't long ago (pre-2011) that Lisa and her wife Massy were forced to hide their relationship from Lisa's Army family. With DADT and DOMA now out of the way, however, the two have embarked on a new chapter in their lives - one in which they can live openly as a same-sex couple on a military base.

Said Massy:

Being able to be part of the military family freely and openly and feeling accepted, I'm very happy with that. Asa civilian, as a military wife I feel like they are taking me serious. They are really counting me in. I think allowing gays and lesbians to express who they are freely makes them want to give it their all. 

See their story for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Trans Former SEAL Team 6 Member Kristin Beck Talks Chelsea Manning, Trans Troops, and Her Run for Congress: VIDEO

Beck

Kristin Beck, the former Navy Seal who was a member of the elite Seal Team 6 and came out as transgender in her book Warrior Princess in 2013, sat down with Thomas Roberts on Out There this week to discuss why she is planning to run against Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House Minority Whip, in 2016. 

Beck also addressed the military's recent approval of Chelsea Manning's hormone treatment - with Beck stressing that while she supports the military's move, she continues to see Manning as more of a criminal than whistleblower (Beck has in the past called Manning "a traitor to me personally").

Later, Beck was asked to give her thoughts on Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's statement earlier this week that transgender troops should be allowed to serve.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Obama Administration: Transgender People Should Not Be Banned From Military Service

Deputy_Secretary_of_Defense_Ashton_Carter_testifies_about_the_impact_on_the_Department_of_Defense_should_the_U.S._enter_into_sequestration_during_a_hearing_before_the_Senate_Armed_Services_Committee_in_Washingt_130212-F

The Obama administration has voiced support for Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's statement that transgender people should not be automatically banned from service.

Speaking at a troop event in Kandahar, Afghanistan last Sunday, when questioned by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jesse Ehrenfeld about his thoughts on “transgender service members serving in an austere environment like this here in Kandahar,” Carter replied: 

“And I'm very open-minded about...what their personal lives and proclivities are, provided they can do what we need them to do for us. That's the important criteria. Are they going to be excellent service members? And I don't think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them.”

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511840fc8970c-800wiFollowing Carter's comments, BuzzFeed reports that at the White House briefing yesterday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said:

“The president agrees with the sentiment that all Americans who are qualified to serve should be able to serve. And for that reason, we here at the White House welcome the comments from the secretary of defense. But in terms of — of additional steps that the Department of Defense will take to address this matter, I’d refer you to the secretary’s office.”

Ehrenfeld said that although he is pleased by the comments, he is now looking for action.

“Everyday the ban on transgender service continues, my shipmates colleagues are forced to serve alongside me in silence. I was pleased at Sec Carter’s response and am optimistic that soon this disparity in service will end. As a physician caring for transgender soldiers, the ban stands in the way of ensuring these individuals get the care they need.”

Last year, an independent panel led by former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders (above, right) and Rear Admiral Alan Steinman, recommended lifting the current ban on transgender service members.


Military Approves Chelsea Manning's Gender Reassignment Treatment

Manning

Convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning has secured hormone therapy for her gender-reassignment treatment, USA Today reports:

"After carefully considering the recommendation that (hormone treatment) is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I approve adding (hormone treatment) to Inmate Manning's treatment plan," Col. Erica Nelson, the commandant of Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, wrote in a Feb. 5 memo. [...]

Manning sued the federal government for access to the treatment. The Army referred questions about Manning to the Department of Justice, which has been handling the case. Nicole Navas, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment, saying the government's position is detailed in court filings.

Back in September, the American Civil Liberties Union sued Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on behalf of Manning. The ACLU did not have an immediate comment on the Army's memo.

The paper adds

Transgenders are not allowed to serve in the U.S. military and the Defense Department does not provide such treatment. The Department of Veterans Affairs, however, does provide the treatment for veterans.

The Army's decision means it is simply fulfilling its obligation to provide Manning with medical care, said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group based in Washington. Failing to do so would be "cruel and unusual punishment," she said.

Manning is currently serving a 35 year sentence in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas after being convicted in 2013 of leaking thousand of classified military documents. 


Gay Couple Makes History With Navy's First Man-on-Man Homecoming Kiss: VIDEO

Sawicki and Brier kiss

After a seven-month WestPac deployment, the USS San Francisco (SSN 711) submarine warship returned home to Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego yesterday. With every return comes the ceremonial "first kiss" of sailors disembarking from the vessel, and Monday's kiss was particularly notable as it was the first time ever a male same-sex couple was chosen. Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Sawicki received nothing but support from his shipmates when the announcement was made that he had won the lottery, and while his boyfriend Shawn Brier was worried about screwing it up by falling into the water, the kiss went off without a hitch.

Watch an interview with the couple and peep one more picture of the kiss, AFTER THE JUMP...

NAVY

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