08:01 GMT21 October 2020
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    Chelsea Manning to Lose Transgender Health Benefits After Release

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    Private Chelsea Manning, a transgender soldier who was convicted for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks and who had her sentence subsequently commuted by President Barack Obama, will lose her military health care benefits, including hormone treatments for her transition, following her release.

    Manning, whose commuted sentence will end in May 2017, also received a dishonorable discharge, along with prison time at her 2013 sentencing. Dishonorably-discharged soldiers lose all privileges and entitlements they are given as members of the military, including medical care.

    Manning, who was born a male and named Bradley Manning, is undergoing gender-reassignment hormone therapy while in prison and was also to undergo gender-transition surgery (paid for by the military). However, the commutation of her sentence means that her dishonorable discharge will come before she can have that surgery at taxpayer expense.

    Manning was arrested in 2010, and sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in prison. Her supporters lobbied Obama to commute her sentence via a presidential pardon, which was granted in January 2017. Obama stated that Manning's sentence was "very disproportionate relative to what other leakers have received" and that the seven years she spent in prison was sufficient punishment for her crimes.

    But Obama's commutation did not overrule the dishonorable discharge that Manning received for leaking state secrets. 

    Manning made two suicide attempts in 2016. A 2014 survey done by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention found that 41 percent of transgender Americans have attempted suicide, compared to 4.6 percent of the overall population.

    Male-to-female gender reassignment surgery can cost between $7,000 and $24,000. Late 2016 estimates stated that the military would likely pay $2.4-8.4 million annually on such surgeries, as well as hormone therapy for transgender personnel.


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    imprisonment, commutation, Gender Dysphoria, Wikileaks, Chelsea Manning
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