Manning Faces Army Fight on Transgender Surgery

Military says it doesn't provide hormone therapy or sex-change operations
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2013 5:10 PM CDT
Manning Faces Army Fight on Transgender Surgery
In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Army, Pfc. Bradley Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick.   (AP Photo/U.S. Army, File)

The decision by the Army private previously known as Bradley Manning to identify from here on out as a female by the name of Chelsea Manning raises a host of thorny legal issues, reports Courthouse News Service. For starters, Manning wants to start hormone therapy immediately in preparation for a sex-change operation, but Fort Leavenworth says neither option is available to inmates at the all-male facility. "I'm gonna change that," says Manning attorney David Coombs. The Army deems sex-change surgery to be elective and thus would not cover the cost, reports Politico. Could Manning foot the bill? Maybe, says a spokesperson for the Army Medical Command, but that decision would be in the hands of Fort Leavenworth.

Court cases have established a precedent for federal inmates to receive transgender medical care, but Manning is out of luck because Leavenworth is a military prison, explains CNS. On a different note, Slate blogger Amanda Marcotte thinks the media should immediately honor Manning's wish to be called a she instead of a he. "Even if you disagree with Manning's actions and believe she deserves the harsh sentence she received, her gender identity had nothing to do with her crimes," writes Marcotte. "Most people don't have to transition under as much scrutiny as Manning has suffered; all of us making the switch graciously can help make things slightly easier for her." (Wikipedia is already on board.)

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