In New York, Many in LGBT Community Hold Manning at a Distance

Friday, August 23, 2013

Gay pride flag (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

A transgender woman from the Bronx who spent three years in jail as a man has some advice for the Army intelligence officer formerly known as Bradley Manning: get counseling.

Nicole Aubry, 27, said she spent three years in counseling before she started hormones, and she’s concerned that Manning may be jumping into the decision to do so too quickly.

"Transgender women don't go through it just like that,” she said outside the LGBT Community Center in Chelsea. “First you got to see a counselor, and then hormone treatments.”

Following the news this week that Manning plans to live as a woman named Chelsea and begin hormone therapy, many worry about having such a divisive figure associated with the community in the spotlight.

Manning, 25, was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison this week for leaking classified documents to the website WikiLeaks.

"Chelsea Manning, regardless of which side of the debate you're on ... is a polarizing figure," said Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Silverman said the community is always concerned about the media's representation of transgender people, and that Manning may not be the best figure to be the one to help educate the public on trans issues. 

"That's probably not the best atmosphere in which to have a reasonable discussion about transgender people, what it means to be transgender and how transgender people should be treated by the medical community, whether that's in the medical system, or outside of it," he said.

Back in Chelsea, John Coffey, 60, is a military veteran who said he was diagnosed with a gender disorder, but never sought a sex change. He said he thinks Manning should serve his time in prison as a man.

"He wants to play with the government secrets? Let him do his 35 years as a man, and not as a female," Coffey said.

A spokesman from Fort Leavenworth, Ks., where Manning is being held, said Manning won't be allowed to wear a wig or bra, and that her hair must meet military standards. The Army said it does not provide hormone treatment or sex-reassignment surgery.

Manning will have access to mental health professionals while in prison.


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Comments [6]

rh from nyc

I fully support him getting a gender change when he is done with his prison term.

If I can't get breast enlargement in prison, even if I am depressed about it, he shouldn't be able to get a gender change. If a woman can't get IVF treatments in prison even if she suffers psychological distress due to not getting pregnant, he shouldn't be able to get a gender change.

Part of being in prison is learning about the consequences of your actions. Also note that if he was found innocent, he would pay 100% for a gender change as most health insurance plans do not cover gender reassignments surgery at all.

Aug. 26 2013 08:53 AM
VJ from Los Angeles

Bradley Manning is not a TRAITOR, Americans are traitors for allowing Obama into office when anyone who researches knows he is ex-CIA and is not a U.S. Citizen. I am a gay military veteran and it is our duty to out the enemy whether FOREIGN or DOMESTIC, INSIDE OR OUTSIDE of our govENRONment. Most of, if not all of you that make stupid comments, have never served in the military, so you think its okay for us to kill innocent people for your cheap oil!

Manning is my gay brother, and he is a real hero to me - as a gay man and a veteran. I body bagged shipmates of mine for lies for this country. Again, most Americans are traitors as they sit idly by and watch the country go down without saying a word.

Aug. 25 2013 02:33 AM
Michael from Los Angeles

Also, I should be clear: when I say "man" & "he" I am referring to who this person was; she (assuming that Manning is transgender) obviously wants to be a completely different person. And I think we should give Manning the benefit of the doubt; finally, what really does Chelsea/formerly Bradley's past actions have to do directly with this announcement?

Aug. 24 2013 12:18 PM
Michael from Los Angeles

Excuse me, WNYC! Jumped from one story to another too quickly.

Aug. 24 2013 12:14 PM
Michael from Los Angeles

Whatever Manning's identity is, or whether he is or is not transgender, is impossible to judge from a distance. He is a troubled young man who apparently entered the military to please his father; then decided his politics entitled him to leak information on such a vast scale he couldn't begin to know what would happen because of that action.
If he truly believed his act of disobedience was an act of conscience, he still should accept his prison term and serve it. This announcement won't get him out early, let's be real. And he can't think it will.
As for small-minded, bigoted, troll-commentators, please take down their prurient comments, CBS! One has to wonder what unacknowledged 'Oz' fantasies motivate such hatefulness.

Aug. 24 2013 12:12 PM
Sandi Marie from Arizona

This whole situation is causing a big split in the transgender community. I have been blocked by a transactivist because I refuse to sympathize with this clown and refer to him as her. Even though it has not been through counseling to actully garner a dianosis of gender dishoria.

Inmate manning is using his supposed gender identy issue as a manner in which to cause enough turmoil he is thrown out of prison. As I have just started counseling for my gender issues, why should this traitor be placed on HRT just because he say's so. He commited the crime as a soldier, he should serve his sentenance as one.

Prison is not someplace you go into a bradly and exit as chelsi. If I have to pay for my HRT and SRS, should I go that route, then inmate mannins should have to do the same as well.

If those that demand his HRT want to pay for it then so be it. But until the Government requires my insurance to pay for HRT, they should not be compelled to pay for it in any prison.

If you want to refer to the 8th addmendment about cruel and unusal punishment. Here's a prespective to look at. The cruel and unuasal punishment of gender dishoria is being done by nature, not the prison system. Therefore the prison should not be held accountable for something that is doesn't have any control over, nor should it, at it's own cost be complelled to treat this condition.

Aug. 23 2013 07:08 PM

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