Chelsea Manning and the Law

Bradley Manning's announcement that she wishes to begin living life as a woman poses some interesting legal questions.


Bradley Manning’s announcement that she wishes to be addressed as Chelsea Manning and begin living life as a woman poses some interesting legal questions.

Tom Vanden Brook and Jim Michaels, reporting for USA Today (“Manning Faces Legal Minefield“) provide some background:

Legal, medical and mental health professionals, even the Veterans Affairs Department, recognize that transgender men and women can qualify for medical treatment. The VA won’t pay for veterans to have sexual reassignment surgery but it will pay for hormone treatment and counseling for those who qualify.

It’s unknown how many transgender troops are serving. From 2001 to 2011, there were 3,177 veterans diagnosed with gender identity disorder, according to the VA. The number is increasing annually, it says. About one in 11,000 male babies and one in 30,000 female babies are born with gender identity disorder, according to the Veterans Health Administration.

The Pentagon, meantime, refuses to accept transgender troops or offer them treatment. Gay and lesbian troops may now serve openly, but transgender soldiers get discharged. And the Army says it will not treat Manning for transgender issues during the private’s sentence at the Army’s Fort Leavenworth prison — a male-only facility.

Activists and lawyers say the Pentagon is fighting a rear-guard action that it can’t win. It can’t deny a prisoner legitimate, recognized therapy, they say. If Manning receives a diagnosis that he needs gender treatment, he’ll be entitled to therapy in prison, says Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

“It’s really clear-cut,” Keisling said. “If a person gets diabetes, you treat the diabetes,” she said. “If you break a leg, that gets treated. If you have schizophrenia, that gets treated. It doesn’t matter if it is a mental or physical health problem.”

Denying therapy or surgery “is the initial reaction most prisons have had. … It’s regularly been rejected by courts because the courts say the Constitution requires prisoners be given adequate care,” said Neal Minahan, a Boston attorney who has worked on similar cases.

“You can’t just have a blanket ban on a medical procedure without some doctor involvement,” he said.

Interestingly, while the VA may be diagnosing people with gender identity disorder, it apparently doesn’t exist:

Manning’s announcement comes at a time of tremendous change in medical and cultural attitudes toward transgender people.

In March, the psychiatric profession’s diagnostic manual eliminated “gender identity disorder” from its list of mental health disorders.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does include the term “gender dysphoria,” or “the emotional stress somebody might experience because there is a discrepancy between their assigned gender, which they were born with, and the gender they feel they are.”

HuffPo’s Matt Sledge (“Chelsea Manning’s Gender Transition Could Set Military Precedent“)

Although the military ended its Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy barring openly gay servicemembers in September 2011, the Army still bars transgender servicemembers as “administratively unfit.” The official Army regulation uses medically outdated terminology referring to “transvestism, voyeurism, other paraphilias, or factitious disorders, psychosexual conditions, transsexual, (or) gender identity disorder.”

Transgender servicemembers are supposed to be administratively separated from the Army, and cannot receive treatments for gender dysphoria like hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery. But administrative separation is not an option for soldiers sentenced to prison like Manning, whose rank will soon be reduced to Army private.

A Fort Leavenworth spokeswoman confirmed to HuffPost on Thursday that the military’s refusal to provide hormone therapy to its prisoners is derived from that official Army regulation, not simply a matter of prison policy or practice.

Army regulation stands in sharp contrast to the policies of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the Endocrine Society, all of which acknowledge hormone therapy as an effective treatment for people who need to transition because of gender dysphoria.

And it’s not just the military:

Access to hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery are contested issues far beyond the military. Many state prisons do not provide one or both, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons only reached a settlement in 2011 to allow prisoners to start hormone therapy while incarcerated. Transgender inmates everywhere, meanwhile, face disproportionate exposure to the rape endemic to America’s prisons.

Emily Greenhouse in The New Yorker (“ACCEPTING CHELSEA MANNING“):

No federal law exists to protect transgender people from discrimination in the workplace; a full ninety per cent have reported harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination at work. The rate of unemployment in the trans community is double that of the population at large. Most states do not guarantee access to public services, like hospitals, for transgender people. In New York State, where the modern gay-rights movement really began, gay and lesbian activists dropped their transgender allies for a non-discrimination bill, and still there is no guarantee of equality of gender expression.

Discrimination and violence, especially sexual violence, against transgender women is disproportionately bad. And in prison, according to a 2009 study of inmates in California, some sixty per cent of male-to-female transgender individuals locked up with cisgendered men suffered sexual assault. Not one of the transgender inmates in the study trusted guards to protect them against rape and harm.

But the law is slowly moving. The Kansas City Star (“‘I am Chelsea Manning’: Reflections on a sexual transformation“):

Courts around the country, however, have ruled that hormone therapy for inmates can be a legitimate medical treatment. Arbitrarily refusing them can violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The American Civil Liberties Union said it would support Manning’s “pursuit of appropriate health care and lawful treatment” while at Fort Leavenworth.

“This is an untested area,” said Chris Slobogin, professor of law and psychology at Vanderbilt University. “Generally, prisoners and other incarcerated individuals only have a constitutional right to treatment to prevent deterioration. If Manning could show that without hormone treatment his psychological or physical condition will worsen, he might have a case.”

In 2012, a Massachusetts federal judge ordered the state to provide taxpayer-funded sex-change surgery to an inmate serving a life sentence for murder. Since then, however, the judge warned the inmate that she could lose her chance for the surgery because she had violated court-ordered confidentiality rules.

The ACLU argues that gender dysphoria is just like any other illness:

Policies, like the one the Army announced this morning, that categorically withhold hormone therapy violate clearly established standards of care for the treatment of Gender Dysphoria as well as clear constitutional proscriptions against deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of individuals in government custody. Gender Dysphoria (formerly known as gender identity disorder or GID) is a serious medical condition, and hormone therapy is part of the accepted medical protocol for treating this condition. Without the necessary treatment, Gender Dysphoria can cause severe psychological distress, anxiety and suicidal ideation. According to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), the leading medical authority on the proper standards of treatment for people with GID, “hormone therapy…is a medically necessary intervention for many transsexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming individuals with Dender Dysphoria.”

When the government holds people in its custody, it takes on a duty to provide them medically necessary care. The National Commission on Correctional Healthcare advises against “blanket administrative or other policies that restrict specific medical treatment for transgender people,” particularly where such policies either: (1) “make treatments available only to those who received them prior to incarceration or that limit GID treatment to psychotherapy;” or (2) “attempt to ‘freeze’ gender transition at the stage reached prior to incarceration.” Federal courts that have considered the issue in the last several years have consistently found that the blanket denial of treatment for Gender Dysphoria violates the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

The ACLU supports Ms. Manning and the many transgender people who have preceded her, including Ophelia De’lontaMichelle KosilekAndrea Fields, Jessica Davison, and Vankemah Moaton, in the fight for medically necessary treatment while in custody.

Joshua Foust and I discussed this yesterday in a segment for BloggingHeadsTV that should be posted later this morning. As far as we’ve moved as a society in our attitudes toward homosexuality over the last ten or fifteen years, transgender issues are still something with which most of us have not much grappled. Manning’s case will likely speed up our understanding of the issues surrounding gender dysphoria and hopefully help resolve the complex legal questions as well.

While both Foust and I very much believe Manning deserves to be punished for the crimes committed while living as Bradley, we’re concerned about the horrors awaiting Chelsea at Leavenworth. I’m not so much worried that she’ll be harmed physically—a military disciplinary barracks is a far more orderly place than a civilian penitentiary–but that she’ll endure immense psychological trauma.  As Greenhouse eloquently puts it, that’s true even if the guards and other inmates aren’t mean to her:

Manning, a twenty-five-year-old who suffered neglect as a child, and who was subject to solitary confinement after her arrest, will be in prison for at least the next eight years. And during that time, she will have to live with the knowledge that the world outside has seen those pictures of her as a boy, that others feel a right to determine her identity—who she feels she is inside her body—on her behalf.

And, while I’m inclined to think providing her with hormone treatment is less cruel than the alternative, that itself raises a host of challenges that I’ve only begun to think about.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Gender Issues, Law and the Courts, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Although gender dysphoria doesn’t mean you’re crazy, it doesn’t prove that you don’t have other serious mental health issues, either. In my unprofessional opinion Manning’s behavior suggests psychological problems. I wonder if it would be ethical to provide hormone treatments to Manning under the circumstances. I would very much appreciate the remarks of a competent and knowledgeable professional on this issue.

    Being sane enough to stand trial is not the same as being mentally competent enough to give informed consent.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    Federal courts that have considered the issue in the last several years have consistently found that the blanket denial of treatment for Gender Dysphoria violates the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

    AFAIK, the highest court to look at the issue is the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which invalidated a Wisconsin law that denied all gender-changing hormone treatments and surgery. In severe cases of dysphoria, the court emphasized that individuals may be a risk of suicide or self-mutilation of the genitals. Milder cases might be addressed through therapy. It was the severe cases where there was a risk of life or permanent injury that appeared to trigger the Eighth Amendment protection. (This analysis bypasses what the DSM V says anyway, wanting to kill yourself is in the DSM V somewhere, perhaps as severe depression)

    The Army has said therapy will be provided, as it should. I cannot speculate as to Manning’s mental state, but would not assume at this time that his/her wishes are beyond question, nor assume that taking hormones is itself without potential medical and mental health complications. Perhaps real professionals will conclude Manning should receive that type of help.

  3. Tony W says:

    @Dave Schuler: I am going to go sensationalist on a Friday morning and suggest that any mental conditions might have something to do with the torture Manning endured during captivity. That’ll screw a person up, heck McCain picked Palin as a running mate.

    Regardless, we owe Manning a shot at restoration of normal mental health – however Manning describes it for him/herself. Not just because we are humans in a civilized society, but also because we, collectively, caused the problem by tolerating a government that tortures American prisoners.

  4. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Am I the only person whose gut reaction to this was to scoff and believe that Manning is simply trying to play the system for special treatment because he fears / wants to avoid general population?

  5. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Tony W:

    I think perhaps you are engaging in a bit of melodrama to call what Manning was subjected to torture, no offense intended. The guy was on suicide watch. Would you have preferred that he had hung himself with his clothing or bedsheets?

    Or find himself being attacked by other soldiers being held in the same facility? I can tell you, albeit limited only to the ones that I have discussed this with personally, that common sentiment among Marines (including myself) is that the guy merited one hell of a blanket party. He’s vehemently hated, so isolating him was a sensible move to ensure his own safety.

  6. Woody says:


    Well, if your supposition were true, Manning has been an extraordinary planner – all the way back to her youth.

    There are so many interesting tangents emanating from this one person – whistleblower/traitor, U.S. torture victim/military prisoner, and now gender reassignment figure.

    This was the most worthwhile article I’ve read about Manning’s latest situation, Dr Joyner. Just excellent.

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:


    My comment was geared more towards the timing of this announcement than the substance of it. I have to admit that, on basis, I just do not believe much of anything this guy says. He’s a coward, and I consider the timing on this to be entirely too convenient to discount that notion that he’s just trying to play the system.

    Find me a body of doctors willing to go on the record that his gender dysphoria is real, and so severe that it merits medical intervention, and I’ll certainly be willing to reconsider that position, but you guys will have to excuse me for not being willing to take this pogue at his word.

  8. C. Clavin says:

    I’m with Harvard….the timing here is sketchy.
    Look…with parole this guy is out in 7 years…it’s not like he’s going away for life.
    If you can’t do the time don’t do the crime.

    Frankly I’d like to see Chelsea Manning spend those 7 years with Dick Cheney.

  9. Neil Hudelson says:


    Weren’t you the one in another thread talking about how the rule of law is paramount, yet she also deserves a “blanket party.”

    Great consistency.

  10. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I’m going to have to say that I think parole in 7 years is a long shot. The composition of the Army Clemency & Parole Board argues against it. 4 out of 5 members of the board, by regulation, have to be active duty field grade officers, one of whom must be JAG. His application will be considered by the group of people most likely to view his actions with disgust.

    They are not in my opinion going to look kindly on his application for parole. Just my $0.02

  11. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I said that the law should be enforced. I also said that those who violate the law accept the consequences of doing so.

    That having been said, the fact that blanket parties are illegal wouldn’t remotely stop him from having been subjected to one, least of all among a population of people who are already under detention for having violated the law to begin with. So, I think we can agree that segregating him from a population of people likely to harm him was probably prudent procedure on the part of the Corps.

    As for him deserving one, well, chalk that one up to my having been a Marine. This guy, for me, ranks somewhere between pond scum and bottom ooze on my disgust scale. You can consider it to be hyperbole.

  12. PD Shaw says:

    Here is a link to the Court of Appeals decision, and the pertinent background:

    The feelings of dysphoria can vary in intensity. Some patients are able to manage the discomfort, while others become unable to function without taking steps to correct the disorder. A person with GID often experiences severe anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders. Those with GID may attempt to commit suicide or to mutilate their own genitals.

    The accepted standards of care dictate a gradual approach to treatment beginning with psychotherapy and real life experience living as the opposite gender. For some number of patients, this treatment will be effective in controlling feelings of dysphoria. When the condition is more severe, a doctor can prescribe hormones, which have the effect of relieving the psychological distress. Hormones also have physical effects on the body. For example, males may experience breast development, relocation of body fat, and softening of the skin. In the most severe cases, sexual reassignment surgery may be appropriate. But often the use of hormones will be sufficient to control the disorder.

    Field v. Smith (7th Cir. 2011)

  13. C. Clavin says:

    @ Harvard…
    Possible…I know nothing about military judicial process…but I did drive past a Holiday Inn last night.
    This article says 10-12.
    In any case it’s far less than the scumbags that he exposed will ever serve.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    Manning’s gender issue predates his crime and his arrest. And as bad as general pop might be I don’t think normal males consider castration as a way to avoid it.

    As a rule there’s a long period of psychiatric intervention/consultation before any gender switch surgery. I assume it would be the same in this case.

    And I second Woody: well-written, well-composed, James.

  15. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Fidell is speaking from the viewpoint of a JAG, and a Coast Guard JAG at that. I certainly agree with his reading of the timeframe under which Manning would be considered for parole.

    That having been said I just don’t think he really understands the mindset of the people who will be voting on Manning’s application. With the exception of the Marine Corps, JAG officers are staff officers, not line officers. They are never subjected to command of field units, and are therefore unavoidably only able to view the scenario from the perspective of a desk dweller. He’s assuming that they will act as he would act, and that is misguided.

    The people voting on Manning’s application will be serving field grade officers, most (if not all) of whom will also be wearing CIBs, and they will view the application from the perspective of a field commander. The two perspectives couldn’t be more removed from one another.

    If the application were being considered by a panel of JAG lawyers, then yea, I’d say he has a shot, but it isn’t.

  16. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Which is why I qualified my remarks. Find me a panel of doctors willing to substantiate that his condition actually exists and is severe enough to necessitate medical intervention to correct it. Do that and I’ll fall right into line & support his receiving treatment / being reclassified.

    Until that happens though, he remains in the general population.

  17. michael reynolds says:


    I suspect he’ll be in isolation either way. Manning is a tiny little dude/girl with a decidedly non-macho crime and with cross-dressing pictures already out there. And he’s high profile so the system is not going to want to see stories about him being beaten and raped.

  18. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    True, but they also run the risk of some “I’m being tortured by being kept in isolation!!” sob story being splashed across the media as well. It’s damned if you do / damned if you don’t.

  19. JohnMcC says:

    I’m completely at sea on the important psych and legal issues here. But have had a spare thought or two about the Recruiting Sgt and (?several) past NCO’s who supervised Ms Manning. Wow! Wonder what their prospects are?

  20. steve s says:

    is there a pie filter i can haz for HarvardLaw?

  21. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @steve s:

    Don’t read what I write?

    Or perhaps mount a rebuttal? What a novel concept …

  22. Pharoah Narim says:

    I for one don’t buy it. For social purposes sure….dude wants to be called a girl…fine. However, from a legal perspective, science dictates that if you have an X-Y chromosome you are a male. X-X and you’re female. Of course there are rare cases of people being hermaphrodites so in their case, the penal system should intervene with whatever therapy, treatment, is deemed necessary by experts should the person desire it. In Manning’s case, if he/she has diabetes–it can easily be verified with testing. He says he’s a woman…fine…but DNA says otherwise (and will always say otherwise) so why should we throw science to the wind in order to incur expense in accomodating his request? I find it inconsistant that on some issues, i.e Global Warming, science is king but on others (Gender) its tossed to the wind. Social acceptence–no problem. Beyond that I’m weary. I mean, we don’t let people declare themselves another race do we? Even when their mannerisms and comfort level is greater with whatever other race they identify more with. No biggie, you don’t get to check a different box though. Can you image if a white person wanted to be legally declared black because he felt he was born the wrong race–then applied for minority scholarships? Or maybe wanted to get tanning treatments in prison? I know my comments aren’t to popular or PC but that’s just the way I see it.

  23. dazedandconfused says:

    It was already very likely due to his high profile the management would have protected him and suffered the criticism for that. Manning is sealing the deal on protective custody.

    There is a downside, getting that early parole normally would required a solid record of participating in “rehabilitation” and “getting along” in general pop. Demonstrating that one could be trusted in a work-shop and such. They seldom release a guy who has been alone in a cage early.

    It will be up to his friends on the outside to constantly harass the government over Mannings “cruel and unusual” punishment of solitary to spring him before most of that 35 is up.

  24. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Pharoah Narim:

    As a fan of “science,” I’m sure you realize that:

    1. Gender, sexuality, and genitals are not one and the same.

    2. Gender is not defined by genitalia “from a legal perspective.” (Doug/other lawyers, please correct me if I’m wrong).

    3, Race is also a social construct, tied to skin color but not exclusively so, and is not defined by genetics or science.

    So…what the hell is your point? You don’t like it/find it icky, so you want to claim that science and the legal system prove you correct? You’ll need actual facts, rather than just claims, to make that point.

  25. Mary Furr says:

    The timing of Manning’s wish to be treated as a female is key for me. If medical professionals diagnose a gender-identification disorder based on history pre-dating Manning’s decision to leak classified information, then I support appropriate treatment, including housing with female inmates. However, despite having worked with transgender people–before and after the gender change– and getting over the initial shock of the restroom switcheroo once the transition is deemed medically complete, I am skeptical of the timing of Manning’s claim to be a woman. The first day (first hour?) of Leavenworth’s prisoner processing includes a frank and honest discussion of sexual urges while confined…and attempted rapes do occur at Leavenworth. Manning–along with all prison inmates–has a legitimate fear of being harmed. This, along with the recorded phone conversations, clanging of prison doors, loss of privacy, is part of the American prison system, for better or worse. Wouldn’t ANY inmate prefer to be housed with females just from a personal safety standpoint? Anyone who leaks classified information–even for morally courageous reasons–must accept the legal consequences of their actions–including incarceration–BEFORE they do so.

  26. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Mary Furr:

    He emailed his superiors with pictures of himself dressed as a woman, and revealed his gender issues, before leaking the information.

  27. Mary Furr says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Then I support hormone treatment. The process of changing gender would be a social process for everyone involved–including the prison society. I would hope that our military would be a model for how this should be managed and supported, as they have for racial integration and supporting gays and lesbians. Having observed the difficulty of undergoing gender change, I don’t think anyone would embark upon it unless the pain of the present gender identity was unbearable.

  28. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I don’t recall mentioning anything about gentalia or sexuallity. Those has nothing to do with my comment. The fact of gender, however, is not up for debate. Our gentic code that determines whether we are male and or female. Whether one choses to identify with that is entirely their choice. It’s quite simple. X-X = Female X -Y = Male. That’s just a fact. I mentioned there are some rarities where people have a mix of three and I have no problem with tax-payer funded therapy for those in that situation. Its verifable that they have a predisposition for gender confusion. As far as Im concerned, Manning is a homosexual man that hates his body. I’d hope he gets help for the second part in a manner that is suitable to him but absent him being a hermaphrodite why should he receive free treatment?

    Race is not a social construct–ethnicity is a social construct. You have the two confused but they are not the same. Race is not identified by a specific gene(s) but different races have unique profiles that map to well known genetic mapping. In other words we can reasonably verify what a person’s race is by their genetic code.

    What’s my point? Its unwise to allow people to receive taxpayer benefits based solely on self diagnosis/declaration. I ask again. What is differnent about Manning getting theraphy for his condition and someone declaring themselves a minority in order to receive sometype of scholarship or preference?

  29. William Wilgus says:

    In ‘gender dysphoria’, the operative word is ‘dysphoria’. “Dysphoria (from Greek: δύσφορος (dysphoros), from δυσ-, difficult, and φέρειν, to bear) is a state of feeling unwell or unhappy; a feeling of emotional and mental discomfort as a symptom of discontentment, restlessness, dissatisfaction, malaise, depression, anxiety or indifference.

    Although “The Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution declare that governments cannot deprive any person of “life, liberty, or property” without due process of law.” (,_liberty_and_the_pursuit_of_happiness), the Constitution does not guarantee anyone happiness. Only in the Declaration of Independence is happiness mentioned, and it only states that it is an unalienable right to pursue it.

    If happiness were a right guaranteed by the government, then I and many others would be demanding that our Financial Dysphoria be remedied.

  30. Neil Hudelson says:


    Again you really do not understand what you are speaking about. Chromosomes determine genitals, and related organs. Not gender. Repeating that its “science” just underlines that you do not know what either science nor the term gender means. You are talking about genitals, not gender.

    Similarly, race is not genetics, it’s a social construct. And the whole “unique mapping” you are pulling right out of your ass.

    Don’t take my word for it. Here’s a pretty in depth explanation in Lyman’s terms.

  31. Mary Furr says:

    @Mary Furr: Also, in the process that I observed, hormone replacement and psychotherapy took place for years before surgical changes were made. So I qualify my above statement with the requirement that Manning received appropriate psychiatric diagnosis before ANY treatment is provided. Does Manning have a predilection for inflicting self-pain and seeking the limelight that has nothing to do with gender identification? If the situation is treated as a medical issue, not a legal issue, a lot of the confusion dissipates. Granted, the Army is not in the business of providing sex changes, but they can’t discharge her from prison, so profession medical diagnosis and _essential_ care is appropriate.

  32. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “True, but they also run the risk of some “I’m being tortured by being kept in isolation!!” sob story being splashed across the media as well. It’s damned if you do / damned if you don’t. ”

    Yes, truly it is those who put him in solitary confinement for months who are the real victims here. We must always weep for those in power as we excoriate those without it. Thus do we protect any system without ever having to give a thought to morality or justice.

  33. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Mary Furr:

    Well said, and i admire your consistency.

  34. Wiseronenow says:

    @Neil Hudelson: But he wasn’t diagnosis by a medical professional and that’s key. Sending a note to a superior and pictures doesn’t mean much particularly with his request now.

  35. Neil Hudelson says:


    Fair point, although i wasn’t trying to diagnose him (I’m not a doctor). I am simply pushing back on the claim that this is a plot to get special treatment. If that’s the case then she showed remarkable planning. It’s also evidence that she is not putting on a hoax, but rather should be speaking to a doctor.

  36. dazedandconfused says:

    Actions can have more than one reason or cause. The most important thing in his life at the moment is tolerable incarceration and as little as possible. There will be vegetarian alligators before there will be Army sex change treatments.

  37. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Neil Hudelson: With all due respect, I’m not interested in parsing a gnats ass about nuances between gender and genitals. I think it’s commonly understood amongst most people that if asked what their gender is, the expected reply is either male or female… and that is answer is a euphemism for saying I have X between my legs or Y. I suspect you realize what they aren’t asking for is a gender identity separate from that. I haven’t filled out every type of form in the country but I’m sure not one of them has check boxes for penis or vagina. You continue to assert that race has no genetic component when even a 1st page Google search has cites to say that it does and one’s racial heritage can reasonably be determined using DNA. Good exchanging points of view with you but I’m about done here. Cheers.

  38. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Pharoah Narim:

    Ah yes, the tried and true “first thing i can find on google” method. Fool proof. Let me just google “Obama is a Kenyan Muslim”…

  39. Paul Hooson says:

    When my brother was in prison for five years he told me about a prisoner everyone called “Horsehead” because his head was very large. Horsehead tried to pull this transsexual thing to get out of his sentence, but it failed as an appeal. Now that Manning is facing 35 years, he’s likely pulling this transsexual thing as a defense to argue that it was against policy to have him as a soldier in the first place so that he can’t be made accountable for any crimes he committed as a soldier. It’s a very weak defense in my view.

  40. john425 says:

    He’s been tried and convicted so let’s hormone-ize and neuter him. That’ll save the cost of the gender surgery.