Military finally begins gender-related care for Chelsea Manning

chelsea_aclu_portrait_3

Source

February 13, 2015 by the Chelsea Manning Support Network

“It is … concerning that private medical information about Chelsea’s care was again leaked by government officials despite clear protections in federal law and the existence of a protective order.”
–Chase Strangio, ACLU attorney representing Chelsea Manning on gender related issues

After fighting for years to receive necessary gender-related medical care from prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning will finally begin hormone therapy. The Department of Defense’s approval of Manning’s care comes after Chelsea’s initial request for treatment in August of 2013 and a subsequent Sept 2014 lawsuit filed in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after her medical needs continued to be ignored.

Update: Chelsea Manning, speaking to a Support Network organizer earlier this week, did in fact confirm that she had received her first hormone treatment.

Manning’s treatment will mark the first time the military has administered such care, as transgender individuals are currently not allowed to serve. Since Chelsea cannot be discharged until her 35-year prison sentence is complete, it is up to the Army to see to her medical well-being while imprisoned.

Hormone therapy, “is an important first step in Chelsea’s treatment regimen and one that is in line with the recommendations of all of her doctors and the basic requirements of the Eighth Amendment,” confirms Chase Strangio, attorney with the ACLU.  “We are thrilled for Chelsea that the government has finally agreed to initiate hormone therapy as part of her treatment plan.”

However, Stangrio notes, “The military continues to refuse to let Chelsea grow her hair like other female prisoners, a critical part of her treatment plan that has been recognized by her doctors. The resistance to meeting Chelsea’s full treatment needs is a reflection of the deeply entrenched stigma associated with transgender health care… we will keep fighting for Chelsea’s health needs until she is treated fully and adequately.”

Chase Strangio, attorney with the ACLU:

“Chelsea has waited years to receive basic medical care that she needs to treat her gender dysphoria. Since she arrived at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth in August of 2013, advocating for her medically necessary health care has been Chelsea’s priority. She has fought her whole life, and particularly over the course of the past few years, to be seen and affirmed as who she is–as Chelsea. We are thrilled for Chelsea that the government has finally agreed to initiate hormone therapy as part of her treatment plan. This is an important first step in Chelsea’s treatment regimen and one that is in line with the recommendations of all of her doctors and the basic requirements of the Eighth Amendment. But the delay in treatment came with a significant cost to Chelsea and her mental health and we are hopeful that the government continues to meet Chelsea’s medical needs as is its obligation under the Constitution so that those harms may be mitigated.

Meanwhile the fight continues. The military continues to refuse to let Chelsea grow her hair like other female prisoners, a critical part of her treatment plan that has been recognized by her doctors. The resistance to meeting Chelsea’s full treatment needs is a reflection of the deeply entrenched stigma associated with transgender health care. There is no transgender exception to the requirements of the Eighth Amendment and we will keep fighting for Chelsea’s health needs until she is treated fully and adequately. It is additionally concerning that private medical information about Chelsea’s care was again leaked by government officials despite clear protections in federal law and the existence of a protective order.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: