Army officials will finally provide Chelsea Manning with gender transition surgery. Manning, a former United States Army soldier and transgender woman serving 35 years for violating the Espionage Act, has ended the hunger strike she launched last Friday in an effort to receive the treatment she needs.
In a statement provided by her lawyers, Manning expressed profound gratitude at the opportunity to receive transition surgery, which was recommended by her psychologist back in April. “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,” Manning said. While she bemoans the tardiness of the decision, she hopes it sets a precedent for providing this crucial surgery to individuals suffering from gender dysphoria.
Manning’s battle has become the backdrop for a slew of social justice issues related to gender and prison treatment protocol, which makes today’s decision an enormous victory for both Manning and activists who oppose her imprisonment.
A representative of Manning’s posted a Tweet about her sense of “unending relief” that she’ll receive gender transition surgery.
Twitter user @izzynastasia seized the opportunity to spotlight a sad truth about Manning’s victory: the military only gave Manning what she needed once she resorted to starving herself. The fact that it required such drastic measures says a lot about our country’s skewed prioritization of trans rights.
The news about Manning’s gender transition surgery has sparked comparisons with other infamous whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, not that their situations should be compared.
Those on the right have already condemned the decision to let Manning transition, which will be paid for by public tax dollars.
But leave it to Manning supporters to delineate the minuscule effect this decision will have on your individual income using the inscrutable concept of bitcoin.
Although Manning won the battle for her right to transition, she still faces the possibility of indefinite solitary confinement for her suicide attempt earlier this summer, caused by her gender dysphoria and lack of treatment for it. The next step is to help Manning get cleared of these charges.
R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe recorded a video expressing solidarity with Manning, who faces a disproportionately harsh sentence for attempting to take her own life after being repeatedly denied the right to live truly.
While it’s important to celebrate today’s victory, Manning still needs our help. You can write a letter to her using the following information. Let’s help make noise around this issue so that Manning can live out her sentence as her true self, which is the least she deserves.
Photos via Wikimedia Commons