Announcing the “Chelsea Manning Support Network”
By the Support Network. March 19, 2014.
As we’ve discussed previously on this website, Army whistleblower PVT Manning came out publicly as transgender on August 22, 2013, when her trial attorney David Coombs read a statement on NBC News announcing her desire to live as a woman named “Chelsea.” This announcement represented the result of a long process of personal introspection and discovery, which started before her arrest in May of 2010.
PVT Manning has recently filed to change her name legally from “Bradley Edward Manning” to “Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.” She also wishes to receive Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which is recommended by doctors as appropriate treatment for her diagnosed gender dysphoria.* She reports that she has made friends at Fort Leavenworth, and only wishes to be able to live as herself.
In the face of military opposition, the American Civil Liberties Union plans to assist attorney David Coombs in advocating for Chelsea’s right to receive HRT. There is already precedent in federal courts establishing this right for transgender prisoners. We are confident that with adequate public and legal pressure, the military court and military prison system will follow suit.
To show our support during this struggle, and for her legal name change, we are renaming our organization and website to the “Chelsea Manning Support Network.” Chelsea has responded to this decision with enthusiastic approval.
* EDIT 3/25/14: When originally published, this article stated that “Chelsea does not, at this time, wish to undergo any surgeries or to be transferred to a different prison.” Chelsea has provided us with further clarification that her current request to the Leavenworth facility is for comprehensive treatment for gender dysphoria, and may or may not include particular treatments in the future, depending on her counselor’s recommendations.
P.S. For a better understanding of transgender people and the issues important to them, we recommend checking out GLAAD’s “Transgender 101″ blog.
For instructions on writing to Chelsea to tell her of your support, please see our “Write Chelsea Manning” webpage.