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Chelsea Manning’s lawyer says client may sue over prison’s refusal of hormone therapy

Associated Press issues memo about correct pronoun use in stories involving jailed army private

Chelsea Manning may sue over prison's refusal to provide hormone therapy. Credit:

The lawyer for Chelsea Manning says his client may sue the prison where she is serving her 35-year sentence for passing documents to WikiLeaks for refusing to provide hormone therapy, Pink News reports.

After being sentenced, Manning issued a statement saying she wanted to be referred to by her new name, Chelsea, requested the use of feminine pronouns, and wished to begin hormone therapy “as soon as possible.”

According to Pink News, Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, said his client made the announcement because Fort Leavenworth, the prison where she is serving her sentence, says it will not provide the treatment.

The Today show noted that the Army, in its own statement about Manning’s decision to seek hormone therapy, said it “does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder. The USDB has implemented risk assessment protocols and safety procedures to address high risk factors identified with the Prison Rape Elimination Act."

The Associated Press (AP) has issued an advisory regarding pronoun usage in stories featuring Manning.

“The Associated Press will henceforth use Pvt Chelsea E Manning and female pronouns for the soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning, in accordance with her wishes to live as a woman,” the advisory states.

It further stated, “The use of the first name Chelsea and feminine pronouns in Manning’s case is in conformity with the transgender guidance in the AP Stylebook. The guidance calls for using the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.”

According to Pink News, AP has been trying to contact Coombs for clarification of Manning’s wishes.

Last year, AP faced criticism for advising its reporters against using terms like homophobia, ethnic cleansing and Islamophobia. The news agency’s deputy standards editor, Dave Minthorn, had said that “homophobia especially — it’s just off the mark” and recommended “something more neutral: anti-gay, or some such."

Meanwhile, a number of Fox News personalities have continued to refer to Manning using male pronouns, with one calling Manning’s request an exercise in deception and another saying he doesn’t “do what Bradley Manning wants me to do,” Gay Star News reports.

The report says the network also criticized the progress of transgender rights, with a Fox & Friends segment calling California’s transgender students’ bill that was recently signed into law “social engineering run amok.”