- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A military doctor recently denied Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning’s request to have her gender listed as “female” in a Pentagon database, a new court filing reveals, further frustrating the former intelligence analyst’s attempt to be recognized as a woman as she serves a lengthy prison sentence for stealing classified documents and giving them to WikiLeaks.

Formerly known as Bradley Manning, the 28-year-old soldier came out as transgender a day after being sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in military prison for espionage and other charges related to her role with the whistleblower website. She legally changed her name to Chelsea Manning in 2014, and last year the Pentagon agreed to let her receive hormone therapy while behind bars to aid in transitioning.

Manning’s doctors have diagnosed her with gender dysphoria — a medically recognized condition that causes severe distress in some trans people — and since 2014 her attorneys have pursued a lawsuit against the Pentagon in hopes of ensuring the soldier receives medically necessary treatment for her disorder while in prison, including the ability to follow female grooming standards.

Despite the soldier’s previous victories, a joint status report filed in Washington, D.C., federal court this week indicates that the military continues to consider Manning to be male. According to the court filing, Manning requested on Nov. 4 that her entry in a Pentagon database, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), be updated “based on her having achieved stability in her female gender.” Her military medical provider, Dr. Ellen Galloway, denied the request, the filing states.

The court document does not explain the doctor’s reasoning, and a Department of Justice representative declined to comment on the matter when reached by Reuters, the newswire reported Tuesday.

Since filing suit in 2014, Manning’s attorneys have adamantly fought, so far unsuccessfully, for the soldier to be able to grow out her hair to the same length as other female inmates incarcerated by the military.

“Absent an exception to policy, the gender marker in DEERS governs which gender’s grooming standards are applicable to a servicemember,” the Pentagon’s attorneys noted in Monday’s court filing.

Manning wrote President Obama last month pleading for her prison sentence to be commuted to time served, and acknowledged attempting suicide twice this year as a result of the lack of treatment being offered behind bars. On Monday this week, the American Civil Liberties Union and more than a dozen LGBT groups sent a letter of their own to the White House urging Mr. Obama to grant clemency to the soldier.

“Ms. Manning is the longest-serving whistleblower in the history of the United States. Granting her clemency petition will give Ms. Manning a first chance to live a real, meaningful life as the person she was born to be,” Ian Thompson, an ACLU legislative representative, said Monday.

Manning was arrested in 2010 while station in Iraq and subsequently charged with 22 counts, including espionage and aiding the enemy, for providing WikiLeaks with a trove of U.S. State Department and military documents obtained from Army computers. 

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