The Army isn’t buying Chelsea Manning’s transition.
A psychologist for the Department of Defense refused to change Manning’s gender marker in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, court documents show. The decision was revealed Monday as lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union press U.S. President Barack Obama to commute Manning’s prison sentence.
Formerly known as Bradley Edward Manning, an intelligence analyst assigned to an Army unit in Iraq, Manning is in the seventh year of a 35-year sentence.
“Ms. Manning is the longest serving whistleblower in the history of the United States,” reads a letter signed by the ACLU and more than a dozen other LGBT groups. “Granting her clemency petition will give Ms. Manning a first chance to live a real, meaningful life as the person she was born to be.”
Manning, 28, was convicted by court-martial in July of 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act. The conviction stemmed from Manning dumping nearly three-quarters of a million diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks. Some of the documents were classified and contained sensitive military information.
While imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Manning has, reportedly, attempted suicide twice and staged a hunger strike. Under the handle @xychelsea Manning tweets through a voice phone to intermediaries.
“Manning, a transgender woman who is being forced to serve out her sentence in an all-male prison, has been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement – including for attempting suicide – and denied necessary medical treatment related to her gender dysphoria. The Army even opposed her request to use her legal name and to be referred to by female pronouns. While the armed forces have finally opened the door to transgender men and women who wish to serve, the government has continually fought Ms. Manning’s efforts to be treated with basic dignity,” reads the letter from the ACLU.
Groups signing the letter are as follows: BiNet USA, COLAGE, Family Equality Council, FORGE, Inc., GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Immigration Equality, Khush DC, Lambda Legal, League of United Latin American Citizens, Los Angeles LGBT Center, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Organization for Women, Pride at Work and Transgender Law Center.
The White House confirmed on Tuesday it has received the letter but declined to comment.
Manning asked for a change to the Army’s record based on “having achieved stability in her female gender.” The chief of the Mental Health Division at Fort Leavenworth denied the request. Army spokesman Wayne Hall, citing medical privacy records, declined comment.