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Trans Activists Praise Chelsea Manning, Raise Fears Over Prison Conditions

One day after a military judge handed down a 35-year sentence for leaking classified U.S. files to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning announced a gender transition to female under the name Chelsea Manning.

One day after a military judge handed down a 35-year sentence for leaking classified U.S. files to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning announced a gender transition to female under the name Chelsea Manning. "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," Manning said. "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. 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." The announcement has raised many issues about how Manning will be treated in military prison, whether she will have access to hormone therapy and broader issues about transgender rights. Host Amy Goodman is joined by two guests: Lauren McNamara, a transgender activist in Florida who became an online confidant of Manning in 2009 and later testified at the military trial; and Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project.

Amy Goodman:

"We turn now to the case of Chelsea Manning, the Army whistleblower known to the world up until yesterday as Bradley Manning. One day after a military judge handed down a 35-year sentence, Manning announced plans live as a woman under the name Chelsea Manning. Manning said, "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use [the feminine] pronoun."

"The announcement has raised many issues about how Manning will be treated in military prison, whether she will have access to hormone therapy and broader issues about transgender rights. A spokeswoman at Fort Leavenworth said treatment for transgender prisoners does not extend beyond psychiatric care. Kimberly Lewis said, quote, "The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder."'

A full transcript of the discussion is available online here.

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