I am beginning to have the strange feeling that I have somehow stumbled into a Monty Python sketch.
Bradley Manning, the Army private sentenced to military prison for leaking classified documents, revealed he intends to live out the remainder of his life as a woman.
“I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” the Army private wrote in a statement read on TODAY Thursday. “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.”
Manning, 25, was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday after having been found guilty of 20 charges ranging from espionage to theft for leaking more than 700,000 documents to the WikiLeaks website while working in Iraq in 2010.
Manning signed the letter “Chelsea E. Manning.”
During his trial, Manning’s defense team suggested his struggles with gender identity as a gay soldier were a factor in his decision to leak. His attorneys presented an email to a former supervisor from April 2010 in which he said he was transgender and joined the Army to “get rid of it.” The email, which had the subject line “My Problem,” also included a photo of Manning in which he is wearing a blonde wig and lipstick. During Manning’s nine-month detainment at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., following his arrest in 2010, he sent two letters to his counselor using the name “Breanna,’’ Master Sgt. Craig Blenis testified at his trial.
Normally, I wouldn’t have anything to say about Mr./Miss Manning’s lifestyle choices and psychological issues, but I wish he had come to this decision before deciding to commit felonies and being sentenced to 35 years in prison. As it is, I have a sinking feeling that the taxpayers will be paying for his/her treatments.
Manning will likely serve the sentence at Fort Leavenworth, the only military prison for service members sentenced to 10 or more years, a Military District of Washington spokesperson told The Associated Press.
Coombs said he is “hoping” that Fort Leavenworth “would do the right thing” and provide hormone therapy for Manning. “If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so.”
Why should they? I have no objection to him taking hormones or having surgery, as soon as he is released from prison and can pay for them. I have a problem with making us pay for it. The Army seems to agree.
The Army responded to Manning’s decision to seek hormone therapy with a statement.
“Inmates at the United States Disciplinary Barracks and Joint Regional Correctional Facility are treated equally regardless of race, rank, ethnicity or sexual orientation,” the statement reads. “All inmates are considered soldiers and are treated as such with access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and behavioral science noncommissioned officers with experience in addressing the needs of military personnel in pre- and post-trial confinement.
“The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder. The USDB has implemented risk assessment protocols and safety procedures to address high risk factors identified with the Prison Rape Elimination Act.”
One thing I find a little disturbing about the Manning case is how someone with such an unstable personality and untrustworthy character was able to gain access to military secrets. Who is determining who gets access to classified Information. How many more people are out there who might reveal secrets. If you think Manning did the right thing, and perhaps he did, consider what someone with less noble motives might do with the information the NSA is currently gathering on every American citizen.
- Army won’t pay for Manning surgery (politico.com)
- Bradley Manning Wants To Live As A Female (today.com)
- He Is Not Bradley Manning. She Is Chelsea Manning. (newrepublic.com) This represents his struggle against reality.
- Bradley Manning: ‘I am a female’ (politico.com) Next, he’ll want to have babies.
- Bradley Manning Says He Wants To Live As a Woman And Be Called Chelsea (fox17online.com)