Chelsea Manning says US Military trans-inclusive policy ‘falls short’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Transgender whistleblower Chelsea Manning has hit out at a revised US Military policy which allows transgender people to serve openly saying they “fall short”.

Yesterday the Pentagon announced a long-awaited policy change meaning trans people cannot be discharged or refused re-admission into the military. The policy will take until 1 July 2017 to fully be implemented to allow trans people to sign up openly but in many ways has an immediate effect. 

But writing in the Guardian today, Manning wrote of fears that the policy would be trans-inclusive in “name only”.

She writes: “When it comes to trans inclusion in the military, at this point, there are still too many questions,.”

Adding:  “We don’t yet know whether this policy of ‘inclusion,’ will be in name only and whether medical providers and commanders will find ways to push us out, dehumanize us and cast us as freaks.”

Manning, who entered her seventh year in prison earlier this year, said there were too many issues which are “unresolved and concerning”.

“We don’t need the military to be the gatekeeper of our gender expression and identity. We should be able to define ourselves,” she continues.

“The policy outlined by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter would require new recruits to be ‘stable in their identified gender for 18 months, as certified by their doctor, before they can enter the military.’ How many young trans people like myself fit this criteria?

“By setting so many caveats, time lines, standards, and training, the military is making this far, far, more complicated and bureaucratic than it needs to be. The simple reality is that we are who we say we are.”

PinkNews has regularly reported on Manning, who has sued the US Army for her right to transition behind bars but is forced to cut her hair short. Manning herself previously had her access to PinkNews clippings restricted.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation warned that clippings of news coverage sent to Manning via the prison postal service, including a PinkNews report, had been seized by prison authorities.

Manning earlier this year appealed against her prison sentence, describing it as “unjust”.