The Herald Bulletin

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August 23, 2013

Manning's gender transition sets up legal showdown

(Continued)

Coombs didn't respond to telephone and email messages Friday from The Associated Press.

It's not clear whether Manning directly requested the therapy, which typically involves high doses of estrogen to promote breast development and other female characteristics, at Fort Leavenworth after arriving Thursday.

Fort Leavenworth spokeswoman Kimberly Lewis said Manning's intake processing would include meeting with medical and mental health staff and determining where the inmate will be assigned in the prison population. Manning was diagnosed with gender identity disorder by an Army clinical psychologist while serving in Iraq in 2010, and by a Navy psychiatrist who examined Manning last year, according to their court-martial testimony.

As of last year, civilian federal prisons are required to develop treatment plans — including hormone therapy, if necessary — for inmates diagnosed with gender identity disorder, now called gender dysphoria. Unlike military prisons, the policy also allows inmates who believe they are the wrong gender to dress and live accordingly as part of their individual treatment plans.

If the military refuses to provide the hormone treatment, Manning wouldn't able to get it by other means until at least February 2020, the earliest he could be released on parole. Transgender veterans can get help with hormone therapy and mental health counseling from the Veterans Administration after they leave the military. However, Manning would not be eligible because of the soldier's dishonorable discharge.

Staff at Fort Leavenworth have some leeway to segregate Manning for protection, though such isolation can be punishing, said Bridget Wilson, who practices military law in San Diego.

Even if Manning is not segregated, the soldier faces an isolated future because fellow soldier-prisoners may not look kindly upon Manning's leak of more than 700,000 military and diplomatic records, Wilson said.

"Some of the most patriotic people you will ever meet are in military prisons," she said. "They have more than one safety issue with Pfc. Manning."

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