Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier who was sentenced to 35 years in prison sharing more than 700,000 government files to WikiLeaks, has come out as transgender. As reported by CBS News on August 22, Manning wants to live the rest of his life as a woman.
It has been a long road for Manning who has struggled with gender identity disorder, but feels he still has the rest of his life to be the person who he truly believes he is. He has already adapted a new name as he would like his supporters to refer to him as “Chelsea E. Manning”. In a written statement to NBC’s “Today” show, he expresses his internal conflict and his hope to transition into a woman.
“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 I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.”
Manning’s defense attorney is hoping that his client can start hormone therapy as soon as possible, which means while he is at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kanas. The request may be denied but since gender-identity disorder, in its severity, is considered a debilitating condition characterized by suicide attempts, castration, and self-mutilation, the prision may have to abide by Manning’s constitutional rights to adequate medical care.
In Massachusetts, a US district judge ruled in favor of Michelle Kosilek, a convicted murderer formerly known as Robert. In the ruling, the judge required the state Department of Corrections to provide sex-reassignment surgery for the inmate. The judge’s reasoning behind the ruling was that surgery was the “only adequate treatment” for Kosilek.
So for Manning, medical necessity will have to be established.
In the meantime, Manning continues to receive support from his supporters who are now asking President Barack Obama to “Pardon Bradley Manning”, now that has to be changed to “Pardon Chelsea Manning.”