For background, in 2010 the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks published classified U.S. Army intelligence files determined to have been supplied by former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Following her arrest, Manning plead guilty to leaking military information and was convicted of twenty-two related offenses.
This debacle, along with her recent coming out as a transgender woman, has garnered worldwide attention, including within U.S. prison walls.
Long-time PAC Member Shaylanna Luvme has shared countless poems, art pieces and more with us over the years. Now, she will address the news of Ms. Manning’s coming out through her rewriting of Black and Pink supports Chelsea Manning, which echoes a supportive message that PAC also stands by.
“PAC Blog,” by Shaylanna Luvme.
In a statement [on] August 22nd , Chelsea Manning made it very clear that she is a woman and requested to be addressed as such. She informed us all,
“I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.”
The SRLP and PAC Members express our full support of Chelsea Manning.
Chelsea Manning will do her time in a military prison. The majority of her time will be spent at Ft. Leavenworth, the United States Disciplinary Barracks. Leavenworth, a maximum security men’s prison, is under the U.S. Army Corrections System, and it reports to the six-year old U.S. Army Corrections Command. The U.S. military does not currently provide hormone replacement therapy for transgender prisoners under their control. Efforts to provide Chelsea Manning support will need to learn from the successes of transgender veterans who have secured treatment, through Veterans Affairs as well as from those of us who have successfully advocated for gender affirming medical treatment in county, state and federal jails/prisons. We know, as the SRLP family, that transgender prisoners experience high levels of sexual and physical assault, harassment, medical neglect, self-harm and replacement in Solitary Confinement or Administrative Segregation. Many are prevented from – or punished for – expressing their gender. Chelsea Manning has already gone through hellish treatment and torture by the U.S. military. We call on “ALL” advocates to continue paying attention to her needs, and join Manning as she decides how best to campaign for herself.
Chelsea Manning is one of thousands of transgender prisoners incarcerated in the United States.
Somebody once said, “It takes a very uncommon courage to survive as transgenders, does it not? And if you, right now, don’t see it that way? Pray, meditate, manifest… whatever you do, to see it that way. The bravery it takes to change and evolve ourselves – medically, surgically, psychologically, and spiritually – that’s our love for ourselves, that’s our strength. Use all of that to stand tall in the face of it all and fight!”
As we fight for Chelsea Manning’s health care, let us not forget the fight for her freedom. As we fight for the freedom for Chelsea Manning, let us not forget the fight to free all prisoners. The United States prison industrial complex functions as a tool of domination and control that steals the lives of poor people, people of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants, people with disabilities, and those who resist the violence of the government. The fight for Chelsea Manning is part of the fight for abolition, the fight for a day where we live free from police, militaries, judges and the cages that steal millions from our communities.
– Shaylanna Luvme
Prince identifies as being gay in a male prison, and is a valued member of and contributor to PAC.
“To: Chelsea Manning,” by Prince.
I’m writing to let you know that I support you for all your struggles you are going through while incarcerated. And I’m also going to pray for you so you can get the right medical treatment you deserve. I hope and pray for you and hope everything goes [well] with you. I have been following your case from the beginning and it’s crazy how the government want to treat you. I just want you to know I’m going through the same struggles you are going through, for I’m gay and live the alternative lifestyle and is also incarcerated. So I wish the best for you. Just hold your head up high and everything will work out in the end.
Disproportionately unfair challenges make up the daily realities of LGBTGNCIQA people who are incarcerated, and should not remain undocumented. Through the letters and information we publish here, we hope to provide an invaluable point of contact between not only PAC Members and people who are not currently incarcerated, but even other prisoners like Chelsea.
Show your solidarity with LGBTGNCIQA people who are incarcerated by sharing this article on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, via e-mail and/or wherever else you think eyes will grace it.
“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” ~ Fannie Lou Hamer
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence.
This blog, which features letters from our Prisoner Advisory Committee (PAC) members, is just one way we overcome the enormous state-created barriers to communication and political participation for the people who are most affected by the prison system.