Private Bradley Manning, who was convicted of one of the largest security breaches in U.S. history, has been moved to the Army’s maximum security prison at Fort Leavenworth. But, Manning wants to serve the time as a woman.
Manning has issued a statement, saying he'd like to be called Chelsea, and start hormone therapy, because he identifies as a female. Jeff Wingo, a spokesman at Fort Leavenworth, says there’s only so much the Army can do.
“All inmates are considered soldiers and are treated as such, with access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, social workers, behavioral science non-commissioned officers with experience addressing the needs of military personal, and a psychologist,” says Wingo.
The Army doesn’t allow transgendered persons to serve, and doesn’t offer hormone therapy for them, but Lauren McNamara, a transgendered woman who testified at Manning’s trial says forcing Manning to live without that therapy is cruel.
“We sentence people to incarceration. We don’t sentence them to denial of medical treatment. We don’t sentence them to suffer with gender dysphonia, or depression, or heart disease, or cancer,” says McNamara. “The government becomes responsible for the medical treatment of prisoners because it imprisons them, and they have not other option for seeking care,” she says.
Manning’s lawyer has said he may sue to try to force the Army to treat his client’s gender disorder.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years in Leavenworth for providing more than 700,000 classified U.S. military and diplomatic documents and videos to WikiLeaks.