Imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning ended her hunger strike yesterday, having secured assurances from the Army that she will receive the medically prescribed treatment for her gender dysphoria. The treatment will begin with the surgery that was recommended by her psychologist in April.
Since she was first taken into custody in 2010, Manning, a transgender whistleblower is serving her sentence in an all-male prison. She has been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement during her court martial and has been denied medical treatment related to her gender dysphoria. On September 9, she began a hunger strike to demand, among other things, that she be treated with the medically necessary and recommended care for her gender dysphoria.
“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,” said Manning in a statement. “But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long. Also, why were such drastic measures needed? The surgery was recommended in April 2016. The recommendations for my hair length were back in 2014. In any case, I hope this sets a precedent for the thousands of trans people behind me hoping they will be given the treatment they need.”
The ACLU represents Manning in a lawsuit against the Department of Defense that was first filed in 2014 over the department’s refusal to treat Manning’s well-documented gender dysphoria.
To date, no transgender individual has received gender affirming surgical treatment in prison despite medical recommendations for such care in prisons across the country.