Chelsea Manning Raises Questions of Transgender Treatment in Detention

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Bradley Manning, the Army private who was sentenced to 35 years in military prison for giving classified documents to WikiLeaks, identifies as female and wants to live life as a woman, according to a statement released Thursday. The statement by Manning’s lawyer said the 25-year-old plans to begin hormone therapy and wants to be known as "Chelsea" and referred to as female.

The announcement, made public on Thursday, raises questions about the treatment of transgender inmates in military detention.

New America Media has reported on some of the challenges faced by transgender detainees in civilian detenion centers and prisons, including what amounts to solitary confinement -- ostensibly for their own protection. For transgender immigrants who are detained, the threat of being deported to a country where they faced persecution can be enough to make them fear the worst.

It is unclear how Manning's announcement will affect her treatment in military detention, but LGBT advocates and Manning's supporters will be watching closely.