Chelsea Manning to lose transgender healthcare entitlement
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning is to lose her entitlement to gender re-assignment healthcare.
Private Manning is to be released from prison May 17, following President Obama’s commutation.
However she will receive a “dishonourable discharge”, meaning that her entitlement to military benefits, including gender-transition care at military medical treatment facilities.
Despite her prison sentence being reduced from 35 years to seven years – releasing her in a few months time – the commutation makes no change to the nature of the discharge.
She had been a candidate for gender-reassignment surgery, which would have been paid for under the Pentagon’s new policy for transgender troops.
Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said: “If Pvt. Manning is discharged with a dishonorable discharge, she will lose her entitlement to (military) benefits, including gender-transition care at (military) medical treatment facilities”.
She is entitled to appeal the ruling, but if that appeal is rejected she will be dishonourably discharged with no further consultation.
Private Manning, who announced her transition to female in 2013, was imprisoned in Fort Leavenworth military prison after leaking details of classified government documents concerning alleged war crimes and rights abuses via WikiLeaks.
Manning has sued the US Army for her right to transition behind bars, and has also taken action against her “unjust” 35-year prison sentence – on the basis that her actions helped make public a large number of serious issues related to military practise.
After Manning attempted to take her own life and embarked on a hunger strike over the issue, the military finally agreed to allow her to undergo gender treatment – but court documents indicate military officials are still refusing to officially recognise her transition.
The 35 year sentence given to Manning was one of the harshest ever handed to a whistleblower.
“President Obama has a strong record regarding the humane treatment of prisoners and a long commitment to LGBTQ equality,” said HRC Communications Director Jay Brown reacting to the news.
“The decision to commute Pvt. Chelsea Manning’s remaining sentence – after she served nearly 7 years for her crimes – reflects that record. We hope Pvt. Manning soon can access the care and treatment that she, and every transgender person, deserves.”
An investigation recently suggested that Wikileaks data dumps endangered gay men in Saudi Arabia.
A probe of 120,000 Saudi files dumped on Wikileaks revealed the documents included private health and crime records, exposing personal data of everyday Saudis.
It identified at least one man with a gay sex conviction – as well as a number of rape victims and people living with HIV.