August 22, 2013

"I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood..."

"... I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition."

Said Bradley Manning, in a statement released after he received his sentence of 35 years.
The statement went on to request that Private Manning’s supporters “refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility).” It was signed, “Chelsea Manning.”
Woke up, it was a Chelsea Manning.... and the first thing that I knew/There was milk and toast and honey and a bowl of oranges, too...

Private Manning’s decision to live as a woman raises questions of how the Army prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he will be held, will respond. A spokeswoman for the prison recently told Courthouse News that the prison does not provide hormone therapy or gender-reassignment surgery. As is the case for all soldiers, transgender inmates are only eligible for psychiatric care, she said....

[Manning's lawyer David] Coombs said that if the military did not provide hormone therapy willingly, “then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so.”

When asked whether Private Manning’s ultimate goal was to be housed in prison with women, instead of men, Mr. Coombs said, “No, I think the ultimate goal is to be comfortable in her skin and to be the person that she’s never had an opportunity to be.”
And the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses... That's not really what prison is supposed to be. Not so much butterscotch sun in there. 

Oh, won't you stay/We'll put on the day 35 years/And we'll talk in present tenses....

This is a complicated prison law question which I've never researched, and I don't have a position on what the right answer is. It's easy to say prison should be stark, but medical treatments should not be withheld. The issue of who should be housed with whom is difficult, and we don't want prisoners hurting each other. As for sexuality, is the official policy to deny all sexual expression to prisoners? If so, is that enforced across the board? If not, what should the answer be for someone who chooses/feels called to express himself/herself this way?

And here's the erstwhile "Bradley Manning" page at Wikipedia right now:

59 comments:

BigFire said...

Army isn't paying for the hormone and the sexual re-assignment surgery. I'm pretty sure Manning's fan has already started a donation drive.

Unknown said...

I noticed that Slate is referring to Manning now as "she" and "her." This is the same online rag that refuses to call the Redskins by that name.

HTTR.

Inga said...

Lord, what a mess. But that's mean of me.

Tax payers need to pay for this surgery? No. If his parents pay, or if he gets private funding, sure, why not.

FleetUSA said...

Sounds more like come whack job. Very sad.

khesanh0802 said...

Why on earth should the Army provide hormone therapy to a convicted prisoner? The guy (I believe he has the requisite equipment to be called a guy) should spend his time making little rocks out of big rocks. He is not at Leavenworth for a vacation.

Ann I am sure will find it an interesting legal question. Personally I am into discipline and old fashioned punishment for crimes. When he gets out he can have his therapy on his own dime.

Harold House said...

Transgender or not, he is a traitor, not a hero, not a whistleblower, and if you believe his story, he wasn't "himself" during the time he committed the crime. That fairly takes the "matter of honor" crap off the table.

That is no excuse. Don't give this criminal any more exposure than is necessary.

Jim said...

I think this is one of those moments when "The first thing we do is kill all the lawyers" is very apropos...

YoungHegelian said...

At least, Private Manning will have the right to have babies!

donald said...

Don't like yourself? Ok?

Want to change your gender? Knock yourself out.

Have others pay?

All I know is when I joined the Navy I relinquished my rights, desires, and interests when I signed the contract.

Anything other than shut the fuck up boy is inappropriate.

donald said...

Don't like yourself? Ok?

Want to change your gender? Knock yourself out.

Have others pay?

All I know is when I joined the Navy I relinquished my rights, desires, and interests when I signed the contract.

Anything other than shut the fuck up boy is inappropriate.

gadfly said...

I wonder how the Chelsea Manning page can stick on Wiki. There has been nothing but an announcement - no legal name change, no rearrangement of plumbing. It does occur to me that, in prison, bad plumbing does not get in the way of good sex.

Cedarford said...

Not exactly a poster child for the benefits of having gays in the military, is he??

Of course, back in my time in the Gulf War Era, we had several excellent gay soldiers..officer and enlisted. Did their job and duty well, kept their sexual preferences discrete, but still fairly general knowledge. Enough that you didn't invite "Edward" on a flunky officer trip to a Turkish whorehouse near Incirlik, or hit on Tech SGT "June" who had a poster of Martina Navratilova up in her workspace.

Those gays would have been very angry about Manning, who is a walking bundle of every gay stereotype from extreme effemininity to extreme emotional instability and no loyalty or duty to anything but him/herself. I suspect most gays in today feel thesame way about him. He discredits them.

30yearProf said...

That will make him real popular at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, KS.

mccullough said...

Maybe hoping Obama will commute the sentence at the end of his presidency out of empathy for Private Manning's plight.

Rob said...

From the NYT story: "According to testimony, Private Manning e-mailed a photograph of himself dressed in a blond wig and makeup to a supervisor at one point during his deployment. In the e-mail, which he titled 'My Problem,' he described a struggle with something that 'makes my entire life feel like a bad dream that won’t end.'"

It didn't work for Corporal Klinger either.

David said...

I believe it's called Gender Dysphoria now. It's in DSM-V and we all know that DSM categories are alway right.

Thus all the cutting edge (whoops, pardon my metaphor) health plans have coverage. Yale and Berkley do, and woe to the person who disagrees with that idea. Catch this from Yale senior Grace Zimmerly in her article arguing for coverage: Equality and justice and respect for all people are very old ideas. That they have yet to be fully embraced in our society is a failure not of their rightness, but rather of our moral duties to our fellow human beings. If you disagree, move somewhere where "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" aren't enshrined in the Constitution as the unalienable rights of every citizen.

Disagree with me? You're un-American and immoral.

Expect tons of insufferable moralizing on both sides over this one.

I used to be a very up to date right thinking fellow. But my time is over. I can't get over the notion that people should pay for their own sexual reassignment. But yesterday's aberration is today's medical necessity and moral imperative.

The world has passed me by, morally speaking.

Jason said...

The GLBT community should denounce this POS as an embarrassment to them.

But they won't.

Thorley Winston said...

I suspect that there is at least a 75 percent overlap of those who think that gay conversion therapy should be outlawed and “gender reassignment” surgery should be paid for by taxpayers or required to be covered by insurance.


Sigivald said...

If "she" felt that way since childhood, why didn't "she" look into that before being convicted?

It's not like anything was stopping "her", really, was there?

I mean, the Army might not like it, but one can quit the Army at the end of a term - or, given the claim that this is essentially a life-long desire and not novel, not enlist in the first place if it'll interfere with that.

(I use quotes exactly because I doubt the sincerity of this claim; actual serious transsexuals that I know personally all get their chosen pronoun without mockery.)

William said...

Manning is a martyr in search of a persecution. Perhaps he'll drive the Army so crazy that they'll grant him early parole.....Both the Clintons and Manning chose Chelsea as a first name. Coincidence? I think not. There's a similar dynamic in their thinking. I can understand Hillary naming herself after a famous mountaineer, but naming your child after a transgendered traitor is too much. This is yet another reason why I will not vote for Hillary.

Roger Sweeny said...

"A federal court judge [Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf] on Tuesday [September 4, 2012] ordered Massachusetts officials to provide sex-reassignment surgery for a transsexual prison inmate, after determining that it was the only adequate treatment for the inmate's mental illness.

"The state's Department of Correction said Michelle Kosilek, previously known as Robert, who is serving a life sentence without parole for murdering his wife in 1990, has a gender identity disorder.

"She attempted to castrate herself and tried to commit suicide twice while incarcerated in an all-male prison in Norfolk, according to a court order. ...

"According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, with all operations, therapy, hormone injections and electrolysis, the cost of sex reassignment surgery can range from $30,000 to $80,000. ..."

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/04/health/massachusetts-sex-change-surgery-inmate

As of today, the surgery has not been performed.

Ann Althouse said...

"Both the Clintons and Manning chose Chelsea as a first name. Coincidence?"

Well, we know the Clintons based the name of the Joni Mitchell song, and it's pretty obvious that Manning did too.

Chelsea Morning... Chelsea Manning...

How could it not be?

Gahrie said...

If you disagree, move somewhere where "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" aren't enshrined in the Constitution as the unalienable rights of every citizen.

Here's the problem. Life, liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness aren't enshrined in the Constitution here. They are part of the Declaration of Independence, which is mere dicta and has no force of law. Maybe you should move somewhere where ignorance of the contents of our nation's founding documents doesn't matter.

Sam L. said...

And this reminds me of Chelsea Clinton, Slick Willy, Hillary!, and their big foundation.

30yearProf said...

Poseted earlier. From the NYT story: "According to testimony, Private Manning e-mailed a photograph of himself dressed in a blond wig and makeup to a supervisor at one point during his deployment. In the e-mail, which he titled 'My Problem,' he described a struggle with something that 'makes my entire life feel like a bad dream that won’t end.'"

At that point his Commander should have immediately pulled his security clearance. People in "transition" present great security risks. Not just for blackmail but for unstable acts and the concurrent bad judgment.

Broomhandle said...

American public life has become a drumbeat of bizarre comedy. Everyday there's something hilarious.

DanTheMan said...

>> I can understand Hillary naming herself after a famous mountaineer

I can't. Most infants don't name themselves.
And, of course, Sir Edmund hadn't climbed Everest when Hillary was born.

Broomhandle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael The Magnificent said...

I pity Bradley Manning and people with is condition.

But, his rights end at the tip of my nose. They most certainly do not extend into my wallet in order to pay for his right to be a woman.

Mark said...

"The GLBT community should denounce this POS as an embarrassment to them."

Tell me, have you denounced every heterosexual who has ever been a bad example?

You must not watch sports or much TV then.

Robert Cook said...

Harold HOuse said:

"Transgender or not, he is a traitor, not a hero, not a whistleblower...."

Manning is most certainly a whistleblower and a hero. The documents he disclosed reveal crimes of state that, were we actually interested in "justice" or the rule of law would see many in government and in various ranks of the military hauled up for war crimes.

Cedarford said:

"(Manning) discredits (other gay soldiers)."

Manning's brave and noble act of conscience is a credit to himself and discredits all his fellow soldiers who participate in such crimes as Manning revealed or know of them but remain silent.

Mike said...

Maybe this is off topic but I really enjoyed those Dudes with fancy lady hair photos. THAT was funny stuff. Chelsea should check it out for ideas once his hair grows out.

Kev said...

(the other kev)

I really hope the idiot that vetted this freak finishes his or her military career at a weather station in Greenland.

Kev said...

(the other kev)

I really hope the idiot that vetted this freak finishes his or her military career at a weather station in Greenland.

traditionalguy said...

Does this mean we can blame Manning's being easily deceived and foolish on his being a woman?

The should rename him Womaning, or Eve.

R. Chatt said...

I looked at some video of Manning today, "Bradley Manning Speaks: In Leaked Court Recording, in which he describes how upset he was about footage showing civilians being shot and his belief that if the American people knew, blablabla, etc. He seemed to have no idea of what happens in wars, and was deeply confused if he believed that the world would be changed by his revelations. He wised up and that's why he ultimately took the pragmatic route of pleading guilty and apologized.

One thing he said was poignantly true about his intentions for leaking info:
4:23 -4:38 "… this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan. I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday."

I would agree that there has been a fundamental error in our policy towards conservative Muslim countries to introduce our concepts of "equality and freedom" where these concepts contradict the culture and religious beliefs of the people.

doustoi said...
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doustoi said...

Okay, who gets the rights and how quickly do they bring this heart-warming tale to an off-Broadway stage? You KNOW they are having slapfights over who gets to write and produce this masterpiece!

Michael K said...

Chelsea is just getting ready for an exciting prison career.

doustoi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
doustoi said...
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Crunchy Frog said...

“I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.”

And I want the United States to pay for it.

Scott M said...

Today, less than a day after sentencing, is the very first that I've heard of his/her/it's feelings about what gender it is. Could be I missed it, but has there been ANY indication prior to this that Manning (lol, pun-tastic last name, no?) felt this way prior to being sentenced to a rape factory for 35 years?

Scott M said...

At least, Private Manning will have the right to have babies!

Splitter!

Peter said...

"“I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female."

Well, no, you're not.

You may be feminine (or at least think of yourself as feminine) but you are not and never will be female.

Is it really so difficult to separate gender from sex?

Illuninati said...

If he wants to transform to Chelsia, more power to him/her. It doesn't appear that her gender is hurting anyone else, so why should anyone else worry about it?

A more interesting question is why so many boys are interested in assuming the female role. Is it because the culture denigrates the male gender so much that male children wish they were female? Perhaps it is because of the phytoestrogens, plasticizers, and estrogen mimics which are ubiquitous in the environment. It also appears that average male sperm counts are dropping nationally. In education, income, and potency, males are an endangered segment of society. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9722963/Male-fertility-under-threat-as-average-sperm-counts-drop.html

Alex said...

The Netflix Original series "Orange is the New Black" features a transgender prisoner who is having hormone replacement drug withheld.

William said...

I was dismayed to see that someone took umbrage at my earlier, 11:58 comment. Hillary's greatest gift has always been her prescience. Not only was she aware at a very young age that she was destined to climb mountains, but she chose to name herself after a man who would in a few years become a famous mountain climber. You can't get more prescient than that. That's why she was so successful as a commodities trader. Prescience. And that's why she was able to walk through heavy sniper fire with such grace and decorum. Prescience......That's why it saddens me to see that she has named her child after a transgendered traitor. Her great gift of prescience has apparently deserted her. How much more prescient she would have been had she named her daughter something more distinguished and distinctive like, for example, Fluke.

harkin said...

Why is it that some Islamist soldiers and gender-confused soldiers put a higher value on their religion/confusion than their oath to protect?

Cedarford said...

You know, it may be awful to say it, but tranny wannabe Chelsea Manning DOES look a lot cuter than Chelsea Clinton.

Cedarford said...

Cedarford said:
"(Manning) discredits (other gay soldiers)."

Cookie said: "Manning's brave and noble act of conscience is a credit to himself and discredits all his fellow soldiers who participate in such crimes as Manning revealed or know of them but remain silent."

================
To perhaps illuminate Cookie, who never served, Manning was a rear echelon guy that knew nothing of combat or ROE. The guy was so far from a warrior that the female sargeant he sucker punched proceeded to beat Bradley up, pin him down, then file charges on his craven ass.
The Apache incident was reviewed and the guys were not only cleared, but given an additional commendations.

The way it works, Cookie, is that if you are a jihadist working part-time for Reuters, and you embed right in the middle of a group of 25 jihadists directly engaging approaching US soldiers with fire...You-Just-Might-Get-Whacked!

If you are an idiot jihadist and think it is a great idea to take your kids in a van into the middle of a firefight to help assist the fighters....You-Just-Might-Get-Whacked!

Totally within ROE.
Not that Manning had a clue. He watched it with no more knowledge of the ways of deadly violence in war than some teen girl appalled at the violence in a football game. Manning lived his "duty" as a Fobbit and a poor Fobbit at that, in a cozy air-conditioned room safe behind a fence guarded by far better men than he....clueless of the existence both our soldiers actually fighting and the brave Islamoids trying to kill them in turn, lived and died in.


Robert Cook said...

"I looked at some video of Manning today, "Bradley Manning Speaks: In Leaked Court Recording, in which he describes how upset he was about footage showing civilians being shot and his belief that if the American people knew, blablabla, etc. He seemed to have no idea of what happens in wars, and was deeply confused if he believed that the world would be changed by his revelations. He wised up and that's why he ultimately took the pragmatic route of pleading guilty and apologized."

Yes, he was deeply confused to be shocked at footage of an American helicoptor crew taking aim on unarmed non-belligerents walking in the open on the ground and slaughtering them for no reason. He was deeply confused to be sickened at the sight of the American air crew opening fire on a man who arrived on the scene in his vehicle, who tried to aid the men who had just been blown away, killing him and seriously wounding his two children who were with him in his van. He was deeply confused to be repelled by the dismissive banter of the airborne American murderers throughout their murder spree and who, upon hearing there were children in the vehicle they had just swiss-cheesed with bullets, snorted they "he should have known better than to bring kids onto a battlefield." (Of course, it hadn't been a battlefield at all, but a killing floor, with the airborne American butchers having at the human cattle helpless below them on the ground.) Manning was deeply confused to believe that making the world aware of a war crime--caught on video and audio--would be seen as a greater crime than that committed by the cowards in the helicopter, or than the crimes of the powerful men in Washington ordering murder at large and torture on helpless captives, (in service to their illegal war in Iraq) or than the crimes of the psychopaths who carried out the torture ordered by the powerful men in Washington, (and that it would end up bringing retribution on him while the powerful men in Washington and their psychopathic minions in the torture rooms and flying gunships live untroubled by the least fear of punishment).

It's too fucking bad more of his fellow soldiers are not similarly naive.

He did wise up enough to grovel before the court before sentencing, making an apology in hopes it would win him some mercy from the court, that it might buy him the hope he could one day walk free, that he wouldn't die in prison after decades of captivity merely for letting the world know the crimes committed by us "to defend our freedoms."

MaxedOutMama said...

How does sexuality enter into this, Ann? Your post confused me!

Manning's announcement, whether you take it at face value or not, had nothing to do with his sex life, but everything to do with the identity that she wishes to assume.

The Armed Forces don't make provisions for the sexual expression of those serving prison sentences or in fact for those just serving, and that is not going to change for Manning. Comfort women are neither deployed with the troops nor provided in the stir. It's the military - get used to it.

My understanding is that medical clinics/hospitals that provide transitioning services do so after pretty intensive counseling (to avoid sudden bouts of global amnesia and accusations of spousal abuse for having the wrong underwear on) and I wouldn't expect the prison authorities to do any less, regardless of whether Manning starts on hormones while in the brig or not.

There is something about this which seems "off", therefore. I can imagine one set of lawsuits demanding that Manning get hormones, followed three years later by a lawsuit alleging military medical malpractice for not following the correct medical practice standards, which had led to an "OMG, I've got boobs," moment for the much-oppressed and persecuted Manning.

Homosexuality and gender dysphoria are two separate issues. One red flag is the claim that he has always felt this way - most gender dysphoric children grow out of it, it seems. But gender dysphoria is not all that well-aligned with original homosexuality.

Titus said...

He is an unattractive male and a less unattractive female.

kimsch said...

What saddens me is that convicted criminals, serving time in prison, can get free therapy and surgery while law abiding citizens with gender identity issues have to wait and pay through the nose.

Even with surgery, the transgendered is not genetically the other gender. If a skeleton is looked at in the future, the skeleton will be determined to be the birth gender of the person. Genetic testing will show the birth gender of the person.

Robert Cook said...

"Totally within ROE."

Perhaps so, (although the assertion is not self-evidently true), but then, we were careful to legalize torture before--uh, after we had already begun torturing. So, no problem!

Robert Cook said...

I said,

"Manning was deeply confused to believe that making the world aware of a war crime--caught on video and audio--would be seen as a greater crime than...etc."

Of course, I meant:

"Manning was deeply confused to not know that making the world aware of a war crime...would be seen as a greater crime than...etc."

Maddad said...

I heard "Chelsea" and thought "hotel".

MCD said...

It appears this young person was a very confused and troubled soldier. Why was he, or she, given access to classified records?