Chelsea Manning to Begin Gender Treatments


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Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, born Bradley Edward Manning, the United States Army soldier convicted last July of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, is set to start a basic treatment for her gender identity condition.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment after being found guilty of 17 espionage-related charges, and is eligible for parole after eight years served. Manning is presently being held in a military lockup at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the Bureau of Prisons rejected the Army's request to accept her transfer to a civilian facility. Thursday Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved the Army's recommendation to keep Manning in military custody and start a rudimentary level of gender treatment.

Military prisons, which are generally regarded as being safer than civilian prisons, might not have the knowledge and means to afford Manning proper care, according to defense officials. Though, Manning might now be allowed to wear women's undergarments, and begin hormone treatment. Which might lead to a decision as to when it becomes time for her to be transferred to an all-female facility.

In April, 2010, Manning emailed her then supervisor, Master Sergeant Paul Adkins, explaining her gender dysphoria. She attached a photograph of herself dressed as a woman, and wrote:

This is my problem. I've had signs of it for a very long time. It's caused problems within my family. I thought a career in the military would get rid of it. It's not something I seek out for attention, and I've been trying very, very hard to get rid of it by placing myself in situations where it would be impossible. But, it's not going away; it's haunting me more and more as I get older. Now, the consequences of it are dire, at a time when it's causing me great pain in itself ...

Manning has been a polarizing character during the age of Wikileaks and Edward Snowden. Some have seen her as a patriot, others as a traitor. The gender treatment approval is likewise a polarizing matter:

In May, Manning's lawyer David Coombs commented, "It has been almost a year since we first filed our request for adequate medical care. I am hopeful that when the Army says it will start a 'rudimentary level' of treatment that this means hormone replacement therapy." If the military fails to provide hormone therapy, Coombs said he will take "appropriate legal action to ensure Chelsea finally receives the medical treatment she deserves and is entitled to under the law."

Image via Wikimedia Commons