Private Chelsea Manning, the WikiLeaks source formerly known as Bradley Manning who is serving 35 years in military prison for espionage, has brought suit against U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and military jailers, claiming she “has been denied access to medically necessary treatment” for gender dysphoria, according to CNN. Gender dysphoria is the condition of feeling that one’s emotional and psychological identity as male or female, along with the gender roles associated with that sex, is opposite from the biological sex one is assigned at birth.
Defense officials announced in July that Hagel had approved Manning’s treatment for gender dysphoria while in prison, but the Bureau of Prisons had rejected the Army’s request to transfer Manning from the all-male military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to a civilian facility. The Defense Department had argued, according to an Associated Press report, that it did not have the medical expertise needed to treat Manning. Manning was to begin the early stages of gender reassignment, which meant that she would receive psychiatric and psychological counseling, be able to wear women's undergarments and shoes, and possibly begin hormone treatments. Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, said in July, "I am hopeful that when the Army says it will start a 'rudimentary level' of treatment that this means hormone replacement therapy."
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on Manning’s behalf on Tuesday, and contends that she has not received any of the promised treatments. The suit demands that Manning receive hormone therapy, permission to groom herself in conventionally feminine ways, and access to qualified medical treatment. So far, said Chase Strangio, an ACLU attorney and co-counsel in Manning’s case, in a Los Angeles Times report, the military has provided Manning only with female undergarments.
"The government continues to deny Ms. Manning's access to necessary medical treatment for gender dysphoria, without which she will continue to suffer severe psychological harms," Strangio said in a statement. "Such clear disregard of well-established medical protocols constitutes cruel and unusual punishment."