- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 26, 2017

Chelsea Manning, the U.S. military’s most famous transgender service member, accused President Trump of “normalizing hate” by issuing a directive banning trans recruits.

The former Army intelligence analyst took aim at the policy change from her widely-followed Twitter account Friday shortly after it was reported that Mr. Trump signed a directive banning the Department of Defense from recruiting transgender individuals into the armed forces on the heels of announcing his intentions in a tweet of his own last month.

“[D]umped news, friday evening?” Manning wrote accompanied by an emoticon indicating contemplation. “[T]his isnt about trans people or military, its about normalizing hate,” she added.

Ms. Manning was convicted by an Army judge in 2013 of crimes related to supplying the website WikiLeaks with a trove of classified U.S. intelligence including diplomatic cables and documents exposing the military’s activities in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other materials. She came as a trans woman a day after being sentenced to 35-years in prison, and was released in April after having the majority of her punishment commuted during the Obama administration’s last days.

She sued the Pentagon in 2014 after being denied medical prescribed treatment for gender dysphoria while behind bars, and the military agreed in Sept. 2016 to begin providing therapy and hormone treatments to transgender service members.

The military had outright banned transgender service members until last June when the Obama administration rolled back that restriction and ordered that no otherwise qualified service members may be involuntarily separated, discharged or denied reenlistment solely for being trans.

“I am directing the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the U.S. Coast Guard, to return to the longstanding policy and practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place prior to June 2016 until such time as a sufficient basis exists upon which to conclude that terminating that policy and practice would not have the negative effects discussed above,” Mr. Trump ordered in Friday’s presidential memorandum.

An estimated 15,000 U.S. service members identify as transgender, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

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