Letter to US Military Authorities asking them to respect Chelsea Manning’s requests

We recently co-signed a letter to US military authorities requesting Chelsea be given access to the treatment she has requested and that her wish to self-identify as “Chelsea Manning” be respected:

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Col. Sioban Ledwith, Commander
U.S. Detention Barracks
1301 N Warehouse Rd
Ft. Leavenworth KS 66027
RE: Hormone therapy treatment for Pvt. Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) (8929)

28 February 2014

Dear Col. Ledwith,

We are writing to you in support of Pvt Manning’s request for hormone therapy treatment and for her self-identity as “Chelsea Manning” to be acknowledged within the detention facilities.

We understand that obstacles preventing Private Manning from exercising her right to this treatment are not medical but administrative. We understand that you have the power to remove these obstacles. We call on you to end a situation where a detainee under your supervision faces discrimination in the exercise of her human rights as a transgender woman.

For many years transgender people have campaigned for recognition of their gender and their right to live free from discrimination and violence. In recent years, transgender people’s rights have become more universally acknowledged and assumed, including within the armed forces. Currently, at least ten countries do not discriminate against transgender people doing military service.
The same is true for the rights of people in prison. The UN Handbook on prisoners with special needs outlines human rights standards for the treatment of transgender people in prison:
Everyone deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person … Sexual orientation and gender identity are integral to each person’s dignity.(1)
In the USA, the US Bureau of Prisons which governs 119 federal institutions has a policy stating that inmates who have “gender dysphoria” are entitled to receive the healthcare services they need. Since 2011, this policy also covers inmates who have not benefitted from those services before their incarceration. (2)
We therefore urge you to ensure that Pvt Manning is immediately given access to the hormone therapy she has requested; that she immediately be known by the name and gender she wants; and that the legal process of her identity change be completed without delay.

Yours sincerely

Lori Nairne, Queer Strike Ben Martin, Payday Men’s Network
queerstrike@queerstrike.net payday@paydaynet.org
PO Box 14512, SF, CA. 94114 PO Box 287 London NW6 5QU

CO-SIGNED BY:
Black Orchid Collective, Seattle, US
FreeChelseManningNet, Berlin, Germany
Freedom Socialist Party, US
F*WORD, a project of the Resource Center for Nonviolence, Santa Cruz, CA
Gay Liberation Network, Chicago, US
Global Women’s Strike UK/US
Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club Executive Board, San Francisco, US
Hella 503 Collective, Portland, Oregon, US
LAGAI — Queer Insurrection, San Francisco Bay Area, US
Legal Action for Women UK/US
Left Front Art, UK
MolinoGroup – Theatre and Performance Collective, UK
Occupy SF Action Council, San Francisco, US
Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets (PSKS), Seattle, US
Prof. Dean Spade, Seattle University School of Law, US
Queer+ Friends of Chelsea Manning, London, UK
Queer Qumbia Qrew, US
Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!), San Francisco Bay Area, US
Radical Women, US Section
Rita Addessa, Executive Director (retired), PA Lesbian & Gay Task Force, Philadelphia, US
Sin Barras, Santa Cruz, US
Sylvia Rivera Law Project, US
Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike UK/US
U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice, Rome, Italy
Veteran Artists, Stephen Funk Creative Director, San Francisco, US
———————————————————————————————
1) SOURCE: UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Handbook on Prisoners with Special Needs, March 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4a0969d42.html
2) SOURCE: http://www.glad.org/current/pr-detail/federal-bureau-of-prisons-makes-major-change-in-transgender-medical-policy/

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