Chelsea Manning hospitalized after failed suicide attempt

Chelsea Manning. Illustration by Alicia Neal, in cooperation with Manning, commissioned by the Chelsea Manning Support Network, April 23, 2014.

Chelsea Manning. Illustration by Alicia Neal, in cooperation with Manning, commissioned by the Chelsea Manning Support Network, April 23, 2014. Alicia Neal

Convicted government whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been hospitalized after a failed suicide attempt according to the website TMZ. Manning reportedly tried to hang herself in her cell early Tuesday morning.

Prison officials tell TMZ that Manning has been released from the hospital but is being “monitored.”

Manning, who was convicted of 21 counts including espionage for leaking classified documents showing government wrongdoing to the website Wikileaks, announced she was transgender while imprisoned. After suing the military for appropriate medical care, she began hormone replacement therapy in 2015.

The government has reportedly treated Manning poorly while behind bars. They have refused her request to grow her hair out longer like a woman and have kept her in solitary confinement for long periods of time. Keeping prisoners segregated for extended period is common in correctional institutions and has been tied to increased depression and suicide risks.

Late last year Manning was reprimanded and sentenced to 21 days of recreational restrictions limiting access to the gym, library and outdoors for having a copy of Vanity Fair with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover and an expired tube of toothpaste in her cell.

Following the announcement that the Department of Defense will allow transgender people to serve openly in the military, Manning penned an op-ed for The Guardian expressing her concerns about the new policy.

“The policy outlined by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter would require new recruits to be ‘stable in their identified gender for 18 months, as certified by their doctor, before they can enter the military’,” Manning wrote. “What is the stability of gender? Isn’t gender an inherently unstable concept – always being constrained by the various context and rules under which we live?

“I worry that this type of requirement will further entrench the gender binary and further legitimize the control that administrators and medical providers have over our bodies and our identities.”

She also pointed out the marked difference between active military members and those in prison.

Referencing her battle to be recognized as female, Manning writes, “And what about those of us who are incarcerated? Will these rules apply to us? I am deeply concerned that like so many policies, the impact of this change won’t penetrate the prison walls. What does it mean that the military will recognize our gender, unless and until we are arrested, and then what? This core identity is then stripped away and our birth assigned sex is imposed on us?”

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