Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, is serving a 35 year prison sentence at a military detention center for leaking classified military documents to Wikileaks. Shortly after she was sentenced, Chelsea revealed that she was transgender and would like everybody to address her by her new chosen name. She also requested that she receive hormone therapy while in prison – a request the military may finally oblige.
Reuters reports that the military may transfer Manning to a civilian prison. As it currently stands, Manning can not receive the treatment she desires in a military prison as it’s not outfitted to address transgender needs. At a civilian prison, the options available to Manning are greatly expanded.
So, why is Manning requesting hormone treatment in the first place? She currently has what medical professionals call “gender dysphoria” – a condition where one is not happy with the gender they born into. For those who have the condition, they can either seek hormonal therapy, psychotherapy or both. At a civilian prison, Manning would be able to receive both as she embraces the gender she always felt she should be.
Of course, none of this is set in stone for now. In a statement released to the press, Rear Admiral John Kirby said the military is currently weighing its options:
“No decision to transfer Private Manning to a civilian detention facility has been made, and any such decision will, of course, properly balance the soldier’s medical needs with our obligation to ensure Private Manning remains behind bars.”
Understandably, the military is concerned that Manning may slip through the cracks if she transfers. Still, it would be inhumane to not give Manning the treatment she needs. In a world where transgender rights are still woefully ignored and belittled, the military can set a good example for the rest of the nation by treating Manning with respect and dignity in regards to her needs.
Image via Wikimedia Commons