Bradley Manning, who identifies as a transgender woman named Chelsea, is set to be released from prison next week as per the terms of Obama’s commutation of the remainder of Manning’s 35-year sentence. Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, was convicted of whistleblowing 2010 and has been serving in an all-male (because he’s male) U.S. military prison for the past seven years.
Manning’s legal team released the following statement on behalf of Chelsea (emphasis added):
“For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea. I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine. Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after nearly seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my health care and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts. I am forever grateful to the people who kept me alive, President Obama, my legal team, and countless supporters.”
HAIRCUTS. Manning, whose ACLU attorneys referred to haircuts (or lack thereof) as “a medically necessary part of her treatment to follow the female grooming standards related to hair,” appears to believe that his autonomy was most restricted by his haircut.
According to ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio, “Like far too many people in prison, particularly transgender women, Chelsea Manning has had to survive unthinkable violence throughout the seven years of her incarceration.”
One reasonably wonders if Strangio, who previously asserted that having short hair “sends the message to everyone that she is not a ‘real’ woman” was referring to “forced haircuts” in the above statement as “violence.”