Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. – The United States military today issued another denial in response to Chelsea Manning’s ongoing request for permission to follow female grooming standards – including growing her hair – while serving a 35 year prison sentence at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.
The decision comes amidst demands that the ACLU requested in Manning v. Hagel, a lawsuit filed in September 2014, that the Department of Defense provide Chelsea with appropriate medical treatment for gender dysphoria. Her clinically recommended treatment includes hormone therapy, access to care by a qualified medical provider, and permission to follow female grooming standards, including those related to hair length. Chelsea was originally diagnosed with the condition in 2010 and announced that she would seek treatment while incarcerated in fall 2013.
“Even though the military agrees that allowing Chelsea to grow her hair is a critical part of her treatment plan, they continue to deny her basic human and constitutional rights,” said Chase Strangio, attorney in the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project. “When we filed our lawsuit a year ago, Chelsea had already waited more than a year for even minimal care to treat her gender dysphoria. We are confident that this decision will be overturned by the court but saddened that Chelsea’s treatment continues to be needlessly impeded.”
Today’s decision comes after the military agreed to treat Chelsea with the hormone therapy, speech therapy, and cosmetics recommended by her providers at Ft. Leavenworth. Though the outside expert who evaluated her and the military’s own doctors agree that it is a medically necessary part of her treatment to follow the female grooming standards related to hair, the military has confirmed that they will continue to enforce the male standards against her, citing security concerns. The ACLU will be back in court on October 2 to establish a plan for moving the case forward in light of this set back.
“Bad news for me: Military continues to make me cut my hair to male standards. I’m gonna fight in court,” said Chelsea Manning on her twitter feed this morning after learning the news.
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