Cruel and unusual: Army will pay for Bradley Manning’s hormone treatments in prison, but s/he can’t grow her hair out

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You might recall that Pfc. Bradley Manning was found guilty of violating parts of the Espionage Act of 1917 when he confessed to leaking sensitive government files. Although he was acquitted of “aiding the enemy,” Manning was given a 35-year prison sentence, which he is currently serving at Ft. Leavenworth.

Since 2013, Manning officially changed his name to Chelsea and with the ACLU behind him, has been lobbying heavily for the Army to pay for his gender transition behind bars. Manning and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit in September alleging he was at risk of self-harm, such as self-castration, without more focused treatment.

The Army has finally caved.

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A memo obtained by The Associated Press documents the military’s first approval of such treatment for an active service member. Col. Erica Nelson, Commandant of Fort Leavenworth said, “After carefully considering the recommendation that (hormone treatment) is medically appropriate and necessary… I approve adding (it) to Inmate Manning’s treatment plan.”

Currently, transgenders are not allowed to serve in the U.S. military and the Defense Department does not provide such treatment. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs does provide the treatment for veterans. (Never mind the fact that the Department of Veterans Affairs also manages to lose lists of veterans awaiting treatment for life-threatening illness – that’s another story)

However, don’t you think for a minute the Army is completely giving in to transgenderism. No siree. Yes, they’ll pay for hormone treatments, but Chelsea is not allowed to grow her hair out!

The commandant’s memo says Manning’s hairstyle will be revisited seven months after hormone therapy begins. I wonder if she’ll also get a style consultation?

You’ve heard of “white guilt?” Perhaps it was “straight guilt” that led the Army to take this unprecedented move.

During his case, lawyers for Pfc. Bradley Manning argued that his struggles as a gay soldier in an environment hostile to homosexuality contributed to mental and emotional problems that should have barred him from having access to sensitive material,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

According to Charisma’s Jennifer LeClaire, Manning’s defense attorneys essentially argued that he leaked the critical intelligence because he was a gay soldier serving in the age of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and because he felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body.”

There’s no word from the Army on when she’ll be allowed to wear lipstick. But that time may come sooner than you think.

Just last December, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announced she was in favor of letting cross-dressers and transgenders serve openly. “Times change,” she said. “From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve.”

Just bear in mind, that statement is coming from someone who has never actually had any military experience. Details, details.

[Note: this article was written by Michele Hickford, Editor-in-Chief]

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