Chelsea Manning, who last year announced her gender transition, has petitioned a Kansas court to legally recognize her chosen name, Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.
Manning, who is currently serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has also requested hormone replacement therapy, according to an announcement from her support network.
"In the face of military opposition, the American Civil Liberties Union plans to assist attorney David Coombs in advocating for Chelsea’s right to receive [hormone replacement therapy]," according to the announcement. "There is already precedent in federal courts establishing this right for transgender prisoners. We are confident that with adequate public and legal pressure, the military court and military prison system will follow suit."
Military prisons do not provide hormone replacement therapy or other transition support because of a blanket ban on transgender service members. But, as Salon has previously noted, an expert commission has recently called on the Obama administration to drop the policy prohibiting trans people from serving.
The Williams Institute estimates that around 15,500 trans personnel are currently in the military, though, because of the prohibition on out trans service members, they have been forced to serve in secret. The commission concluded that facilitating trans service members’ transitions “would place almost no burden on the military,” estimating that approximately 230 trans personnel would seek such medical care each year at an average cost of about $30,000. The panel also found that hormone treatment in such cases is nearly identical in scope to healthcare services regularly provided to cisgender service members.
Manning filed the name change request in January; a hearing is scheduled for April with the Leavenworth County District Court.