According to her lawyer, Chelsea Manning has been told by army officials that the government will grant her request for gender transition surgery while she is in jail. Chelsea is currently serving a 35-year sentence for violation of the Espionage Act, and began a hunger strike on September 9th in order to prove how badly she needed help treatment for her gender dysphoria, which the government was not providing in any measurable way. Earlier this year, Chelsea attempted suicide due to the government’s failure to grant her request for the surgery.
In response to today’s news, Chelsea released a statement through her lawyers obtained by Buzzfeed News.
“I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the right thing. I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted – for them to let me be me.”
“But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long. Also, why were such drastic measures needed? The surgery was recommended back in April 2016. The recommendations for my hair length were back in 2014. In any case, I hope this sets a precedent for the thousands of trans people behind me hoping they will be given the treatment they need.”
Chelsea will be the first state or federal prisoner to be granted gender transition surgery while serving their sentence. The government has specified that she will still not allowed to grow her hair longer than prison regulations allow for male inmates until the surgery is complete. Although the decision was reportedly made this morning, a government representative declined to comment on the news as it relates to the medical status of a prisoner. However, Manning has allegedly been shown a detailed treatment plan and documents that lead her team to believe the offer is legitimate.
Despite the progress in her case, Manning is still set to attend a hearing in regards to her suicide attempt and the ensuing investigation (although her lawyers hope those charges will now be dropped) and her legal team is monitoring the governments follow-up closely to ensure the treatment plan is initiated in the near future and is not unnecessarily delayed.
(Via Buzzfeed News)