US: Chelsea Manning still not allowed gender reassignment

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Chelsea Manning is still being denied access to gender reassignment, despite pledges that she would be allowed to transition behind bars.

Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison after disseminating classified information via WikiLeaks, revealed a year ago today that she would attempt to transition behind bars at Fort Leavenwoth, where she is confined.

Last month, it was reported that US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had approved plans to start her treatment in the military institution.

However, a statement to NBC on the anniversary of her coming out revealed she was still banned from presenting as female.

She said: “Despite silence, and then lip-service, the military has not yet provided me with any such treatment.

“Treatment is, as a matter of law, above medical necessity.

“Prisons – and especially military prisons – reinforce and impose strong gender norms – making gender the most fundamental aspect of institutional life.

“The US disciplinary Barracks restricts my ability to express myself based on my gender identity.

“For example, in my daily life, I am reminded of this when I look at the name on my badge, the first initial sewed into my clothing, the hair and grooming standards that I adhere to, and the titles and courtesies used by the staff.

“Ultimately, I just want to be able to live my life as the person that I am, and to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin.

“My request is about how I am confined, not where. I have never requested for any transfer to a civilian or female facility. Prison is prison regardless of whether you are military or civilian.”

An Army spokesperson claimed: “The Department of Defense has approved a request by Army leadership to provide required medical treatment for an inmate diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

“In general terms, the initial stages of treatment for individuals with gender dysphoria include psychotherapy and elements of the ‘real life experience’ therapy.

“Treatment for the condition is highly individualized and generally is sequential and graduated.”