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"This is Actually a Life-Threatening Condition"

PHOTO: The Army private who had been known as Bradley Manning has requested hormone therapy while in prison so he can live as a woman. Photo credit: army.mil
PHOTO: The Army private who had been known as Bradley Manning has requested hormone therapy while in prison so he can live as a woman. Photo credit: army.mil
August 23, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. – A transgender activist who communicated with Bradley Manning online and testified at his trial says it's critical he get the help he needs to live life as a woman – even behind bars.

Manning, who was sentenced this week to 35 years in military prison for leaking U.S. intelligence, has declared that he wants to be referred to as a she, named Chelsea, and receive hormone therapy.

Activist Lauren McNamara says people with gender-identity disorders who don't get that type of treatment often resort to suicide.

"This is actually a life-threatening condition, and we know what the treatment for it is, and the treatment for it is highly successful,” McNamara says. “To deny that to someone just because they are in prison is a violation of their human rights."

Manning is in a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where officials have said they will not provide hormone therapy.

McNamara says she received the type of hormone-replacement therapy that Manning is requesting, as part of her transition to becoming a woman.

"It's necessary because it's the only treatment for gender dysphoria that works,” she says. “And without it, gender dysphoria can be comorbid with depression, anxiety, self-harm, substance abuse, suicide."


Alison Burns, Public News Service - VA