Convicted national security leaker Chelsea Manning asked a federal court Tuesday to order the Defense Department to provide hormone therapy and other treatment for her gender identity condition while she serves her 35-year sentence in military confinement.
A spokeswoman at the Pentagon, Army Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, said she could not comment on pending litigation, per military policy.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, says the Army private formerly known as Bradley Manning is at a high risk of self-castration and suicide unless she receives more focused treatment for gender dysphoria at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
“Such clear disregard of well-established medical protocols constitutes cruel and unusual punishment,” ACLU attorney Chase Strangio said in a statement.
The Army is providing some treatment but not enough, according to the lawsuit. She is getting psychotherapy from a mental health specialist who lacks the qualifications to treat gender dysphoria, according to the document.
And although Manning has been issued female underwear and sports bras, “she is denied permission to outwardly express her female gender through female hair length and other grooming standards,” the lawsuit says.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons and many state and local corrections agencies administer hormone therapy to prisoners with gender dysphoria, but Manning is the first transgender military prisoner to request such treatment.
The 26-year-old former intelligence analyst was convicted in August 2013 of espionage and other offenses for sending classified documents to the WikiLeaks website while working in Iraq. She changed her legal name in April after disclosing at her court-martial that she had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
Transgender people are not allowed to serve in the U.S. military but Manning can’t be discharged from the service while serving her prison sentence.