Chelsea Manning to receive health care after prison release
Chelsea Manning will be eligible for health care following her release from prison.
The transgender soldier who was convicted for a national security secret leak has been told that she will remain an active-duty, but unpaid, soldier when she is released from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on May 17.
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.
Because of her active duty status, she will have access to health care, commissaries and military exchanges.
Manning’s release was one of President Obama’s last acts in office.
Before the sentence being commuted, Manning attempted to take her life more than once.
She also carried out a hunger strike and sued the US Army because they would not allow her to transition behind bars.
The military finally allowed her to undergo gender treatment, but court documents indicate that some officials are still refusing to recognise her gender identity.
It was believed that Manning, who has been incarcerated for seven years, would lose her entitlement to gender reassignment health care as it was announced that she would receive a “dishonourable discharge”.
However, a spokesperson for the Army, Dave Foster, confirmed that she would remain active despite as her court-martial conviction is still under appeal.
“Pvt. Manning is statutorily entitled to medical care while on excess leave in an active duty status, pending final appellate review,” Foster said.
Terms of Manning’s release are not being disclosed until six years before her eligibility for parole over concerns for her privacy.
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She will be assigned to an Army post as an active soldier, but the location is yet to be disclosed.
“For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea,” Manning said. “I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world.”
“Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine.
“Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after nearly seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my health care and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts,” she added.
Manning’s lawyer, Chase Strangio, added: “Like far too many people in prison, particularly transgender women, Chelsea Manning has had to survive unthinkable violence throughout the seven years of her incarceration.”
Manning has received hormone treatment for the past six years and has been deemed eligible for sex reassignment surgery funded by the government. However, if the appeal is lost then this benefit would be lost.