“I am Chelsea Manning, I am a female,” Manning said in a statement released on Thursday, before going on to say that “given the way I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible”.
Manning made international headlines in 2010 after leaking thousands of classified documents to online whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on the day before releasing her statement and is requesting to undergo HRTwhilst a prisoner at the US Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Some of the mainstream media is focusing on the equity of the sentence. However, most are absorbed by Manning coming out as a transgender woman. The majority of the coverage expresses confusion and even mockery towards her transition. FOX News in particular has displayed vitriolic criticism calling her transition “bizarre” and “confusing”. In the past, FOX anchors have characterised transgender persons as “insane” and “psychologically destructive”.
“If Fort Leavenworth does not [offer HRT],” her lawyer said on Thursday, “then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so.”