Bradley Manning said “I am a female,” and he wants to be called Chelsea Manning, according to MSNBC on Friday. He also wants to be transformed into a female while in prison. Yet, the federal prison system via the military doesn’t see it that way.
After leaking approximately 750,000 documents to Wikileaks, being found guilty of espionage, and being sentenced to 35 years in prison, he is being sent to a male prison.
Manning wrote a statement which claims that, given the way he feels – and has felt since childhood – he wants to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. However, he may have to sue to get the hormone therapy he wants in prison.
On Thursday, David Coombs – Manning’s attorney – asserted that he hopes the Fort Leavenworth Prison will voluntarily give Manning the medical care he requests. If the prison system doesn’t, Coombs said he will do everything in his power to make sure the prison is forced to do so. Previously, the U.S. Army has said that while it does provide mental health care, it does not conduct hormone therapy for any inmates.
Another issue is the cost and who would pay for Manning's alleged-medical needs. The cost is estimated anywhere between $12,000 and $30,000 plus psychotherapy costs. The army has said it definitely won’t pay for it – which puts the cost on taxpayers.
Some say that Manning may be set free within ten years of his 35-year sentence, and he can have the surgery after being released.
As it stands now, Manning insists that he be considered a woman, called Chelsea instead of Bradley - and also wants the female pronoun to be used when he is referred to in the future.