We don’t get to hear much from Chelsea Manning, so when she does speak out, it’s important to listen. For years, she’s been asking for medical treatment for gender dysphoria, and the government has been unresponsive. And so today she’s launching a hunger strike.
Her needs are reasonable: medically prescribed treatment to affirm her gender, and an end to military harassment. Not too much to ask, right?
Some of what she needs for her transition has already been provided, but it wasn’t easy. It took a 2014 lawsuit to force the Army to provide hormone therapy. But in other areas, she’s still being treated as a man: forced to cut her hair to male length, even though her own doctors recommended that the Army hold her to female grooming standards.
In a statement, she wrote:
“I need help. I needed help earlier this year. I was driven to suicide by the lack of care for my gender dysphoria that I have been desperate for. I didn’t get any. I still haven’t gotten any.”
Starting now, she won’t cut her hair, she won’t eat or drink, and she won’t obey orders. The statement doesn’t say what further medical treatment she needs, but then again, that’s really nobody’s business but hers and her doctor’s. If nothing else, hopefully it can bring whatever mistreatment she’s suffering to light.