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Chelsea Manning: Reform for Trans Military 'Falls Short'

Image: Chelsea Manning: Reform for Trans Military 'Falls Short'
Capt. Jennifer Peace served in Iraq and Afghanistan. When an officer suggested she leave the military rather than deal with the fallout of being a transgender soldier, Peace was taken aback. "I couldn't believe he said that. I've been in the military for 11 years. It's everything to me. It's what I do. It's as much a part of me as anything else." (Drew Perine/The News Tribune via AP)

By    |   Friday, 01 Jul 2016 03:29 PM

Chelsea Manning — the former Army soldier who came out as a transgender woman after being sentenced to 35 years in prison for espionage — says the military's new reforms to protect transgender military personnel "falls far short" of what is needed.

"When it comes to trans inclusion in the military, at this point, there are still too many questions," Manning wrote in an opinion piece published in Friday's Guardian newspaper.

"We don't yet know whether this policy of 'inclusion,' will be in name only and whether medical providers and commanders will find ways to push us out, dehumanize us and cast us as freaks."

Manning was reacting to Thursday's announcement by the Pentagon that transgender individuals can now serve openly in the U.S. military — a decision that reverses a longtime ban. Defense Secretary Ash Carter called the change the right thing to do and said only a person's qualifications should matter.

But Manning says many issues remain "unresolved and concerning."

"We don't need the military to be the gatekeeper of our gender expression and identity. We should be able to define ourselves," Manning writes.

"The policy outlined by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter would require new recruits to be 'stable in their identified gender for 18 months, as certified by their doctor, before they can enter the military.' How many young trans people like myself fit this criteria?

"By setting so many caveats, time lines, standards, and training, the military is making this far, far, more complicated and bureaucratic than it needs to be. The simple reality is that we are who we say we are."

The ex-Army intelligence analyst, 28, was formerly known as Bradley Manning and was found guilty in February 2013 on 10 counts connected with the WikiLeaks scandal.

After being sentenced in 2014, Manning then announced she was a female and asked to as Chelsea and with feminine pronouns.

She made news last August when she was threatened with solitary confinement at the Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas for possessing the Caitlyn Jenner cover issue of Vanity Fair magazine and other "prohibited" publications.

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Chelsea Manning - the former Army soldier who came out as a transgender woman after being sentenced to 35 years in prison for espionage - says the military's new reforms to protect transgender military personnel falls far short of what is needed.
chelsea banning, transgender, military, reform, armed forces
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2016-29-01
Friday, 01 Jul 2016 03:29 PM
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