Manning, recently sentenced to 35 years prison for releasing classified documents, has released a statement declaring her wish to henceforth be known as Chelsea Manning, and to be referred to with the feminine pronoun.
This isn’t an out of the blue announcement, Manning having often posted as Breanna Manning in chat rooms at the time of the classified document releases, and having lived as an out gay person for a number of years.
Manning has expressed her wish to start hormone treatment to more effectively live as a woman. Manning’s sentence will be served out in Fort Leavenworth, in the male population, where authorities have claimed hormone treatment is not provided to prisoners. Chase Strangio, a lawyer of the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT project, has said this raises “serious constitutional concerns”.
“The official policy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and most state agencies is to provide medically necessary care for the treatment of gender dysphoria, and courts have consistently found that denying such care to prisoners based on blanket exclusions violates the eighth amendment of the constitution.”
Chelsea Manning’s full statement below:
“Subject: The Next Stage of My Life
I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund, or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.
As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.
Chelsea E Manning”