Chelsea Manning, The Military & Human Rights

The Military (we hear) is to grant Chelsea the requisite Hormone Therapy

Chelsea, who announced her intention to transition immediately after her court martial resulted in a 35 year sentence on 22nd August 2013, and who was first diagnosed by the Military themselves as suffering from gender dysphoria way back in May 2010, is (we hear) finally to receive hormone therapy treatment at Fort Leavenworth.

This is a remarkable victory and a significant landmark for trans human rights as it’s the first time an inmate in a US military prison has been able to get the treatment, and Chelsea and her legal team have worked hard for it, so many congratulations to all of them!

Chelsea Sticker B&W

This news, however, was not announced by any of those people. Instead, it appeared yesterday (12th Feb) in USA Today, who reported receiving a leaked copy of an email written by Col Erica Nelson of Fort Leavenworth on 5th Feb.


Significant Delay

The ACLU’s Chase Strangio somewhat cautiously (?) welcomed this unexpected report:

…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

Judging from the dilatory responses of the facility so far with regard to Chelsea’s treatment plan, this may or may not mean anything happens very quickly. Chase Strangio also ‘called the decision an important first step‘, according to the Associated Press report posted at Huffington Post.

Despite having to file numerous requests and finally a lawsuit with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) for what is established as a world standard to meet her needs (and is already available to inmates in civilian prison facilities), the military continued to deny Chelsea her human rights in this respect, right up until they had no choice. A timeline compiled from court papers by Christine Becker (@chrhnk) (note refs to said Col Erica Nelson) makes this woefully obvious. More information on the history and background to this here.

Controlling the narrative

Never gracious in defeat, it appears that the scumbags then decided to steal a march on Chelsea and her legal team and wrest back control of the narrative by leaking the Fort Leavenworth memo giving their belated decision before Chelsea herself could choose when (or even whether) she wanted this information about her personal medical records to become public.

Seems like they’re set on maximum humiliation for she whose integrity and public vindication has so thoroughly embarrassed them. So much for Human Rights, huh?

Business as usual: Hypocrisy as standard

The Guardian, whose contributor Chelsea is shortly to become, reported Chase Strangio as saying:

Ongoing leaks from the military about her medical situation, without Chelsea’s authorization, is of great concern,

the irony that she is the subject of leaks doesn’t escape her.

What a disgraceful bunch of mean-minded arrant hypocrites they are. The usual comment which accompanies Washington ‘official’ leaks appeared, of course, in the AP report:

The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

So, business as usual; no privacy for individuals, no transparency for what ought to be publicly accountable institutions.

Leak information of vital importance to the public discourse (and embarrass the bigwigs) and you get 35 years; seriously breach a person’s human rights (while announcing you are finally about to stop infringing them) by leaking personal information about their medical treatment plan without consulting them…no consequence, mate.

OK to hormone therapy but no to female grooming (just cos we can)

More information has now emerged in a CNN report. It appears that Fort Leavenworth’s agreement to provide Chelsea with hormone therapy is just that. They are still not permitting her to grow her hair. Pathetic. Here’s some more of Chase Strangio’s response from the CNN report. He said:

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.

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

So if they have their way, it may be some time before she can outwardly appear herself, and as she has previously explained this actually causes well-attested significant distress to the psyche. Nevertheless, we, her supporters will, as she has requested, continue to think of her like this:

Chelsea image

Free Chelsea Manning!

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1 Response to Chelsea Manning, The Military & Human Rights

  1. Heidi Lucken says:

    In the u.s.a., this would be called a HIPPA violation…releasing private medical information about a patient…YES another law suit Chelsea can file against the feds and get more money !!!

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