Chelsea Manning, the U.S. Army private formerly known as Bradley Manning, is suing in federal court over allegations that the U.S. Army is delaying her hormone therapy treatment.
Manning, who is currently serving a 35 year prison sentence in Leavenworth, Kansas, alleges that her diagnosed gender dysphoria will cause her mental state to spiral if left untreated:
Via the ACLU:
“The government continues to deny Ms. Manning’s access to necessary medical treatment for gender dysphoria, without which she will continue to suffer severe psychological harms,” said Chase Strangio, attorney in the ACLU Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender project and co-counsel on Ms. Manning’s case. “Such clear disregard of well-established medical protocols constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.”
Ms. Manning is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, the ACLU of Kansas and civilian defense counsel David E. Coombs. Last month, Ms. Manning’s legal team sent a letter to the DOD and Army officials demanding that she receive treatment for gender dysphoria in accordance with medical standards of care, including hormone therapy and permission to follow female grooming standards. Her treatment needs have continued to be unmet and her distress has escalated.
“I am proud to be standing with the ACLU behind Chelsea on this very important issue.” said David E. Coombs, “It is my hope that through this action, Chelsea will receive the medical care that she needs without having to suffer any further anguish.”
After Manning announced her plans to live as a woman, (which happened just after she was convicted for turning over classified secrets to WikiLeaks,) her attorneys initiated a full media blitz about her transgender status, her diagnosis, and the consequences of not providing Manning with hormone therapy.
In addition to seeking access to the hormones, Manning is also demanding intensive psychological therapy to help deal with the emotional effects of gender dysphoria. Her current therapist admitted in a statement to the court that she isn’t qualified to treat the condition.
This is the kind of situation where no one wins. The idea that taxpayers should be expected to provide hormone therapy for a transgendered person makes less sense than forcing taxpayers to pay for birth control pills. On the other hand, allowing an inmate of a government facility to mentally devolve to the point of self-harm is something that no one should feel comfortable with.
Manning announced her intentions to live as a woman the day after she found out that she’d be spending the next 35 years of her life in prison. She immediately began demanding not only the hormones, but attention from the media and the LGBT community. I don’t think it’s out of line to question the severity of Manning’s condition, but I wouldn’t go so far as to deny psychological treatment to a federal inmate because of the nature of her condition.
So let her doctors and her attorneys prove a need without resorting to impassioned pleas based on gender discrimination and sexual orientation. When that happens, I’ll be more than willing to listen.
You can read Manning’s complaint here:
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