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Today Chelsea Manning, previously known as Pvt. Bradley Manning, came  out  as a transgender woman. Like all transgender people, Chelsea’s name and gender identity should be respected. Regardless of how people feel about Manning and WikiLeaks, Private Manning has a basic right to dignity and to access medically necessary care while incarcerated, which may include a prescription for the hormone estrogen. Over the past decade the medical community has learned a great deal about gender identity, and there is now a consensus, including the American Medical Association, that transition-related care such as hormone treatment is indeed medically necessary for some transgender people. Medical treatment for any transgender person should be determined by a doctor with their patient, and should not be determined by bias against the transgender person in question. Inmates are entitled to adequate care under the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and several courts have ruled that denying medically-necessary care to prisoners constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. We are concerned by the United States Disciplinary Barracks’ statement that they do not plan to provide Manning access to transition-related care while she is under their jurisdiction. We urge them to follow the law in ensuring Manning gets the care she needs, and to do their best to keep her safe during her confinement.

 

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