Visiting Associate Professor of Law David Coombs, lead defense counsel for Chelsea Manning in the WikiLeaks court martial, offers a case update on The Today Show.
From THE TODAY SHOW/NBC News: "Chelsea Manning Says Military Still Denying Gender Treatment" by Tracy Connor
August 22, 2014: A year after requesting gender-reassignment treatment, convicted national-security leaker Chelsea Manning says the military has given her nothing but "lip service." In an exclusive statement to NBC News, the former Army private once known as Bradley Manning said life in the military lockup at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has restricted her ability to express her gender identity. "For example, in my daily life, I am reminded of this when I look at the name on my badge, the first initial sewed into my clothing, the hair and grooming standards that I adhere to, and the titles and courtesies used by the staff. Ultimately, I just want to be able to live my life as the person that I am, and to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin."
Manning is serving a 35-year sentence after being convicted of sending classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. She became the first military inmate to ask for treatment for gender dysphoria and went public with her decision to live life as a woman in a TODAY interview last August. She asked for a treatment plan that would consider three measures: dressing and living as a woman, hormone therapy and possible surgery.
Last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved an Army recommendation to begin the early stages of gender reassignment, including counseling and approval to dress as a woman, officials said. But Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, said in a statement that the military has failed to carry out the recommendation and that he is prepared to sue. "The military's failure to comply with the treatment recommendations and protocols for Chelsea's diagnosed gender dysmorphia violates her well-established constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment," Coombs wrote. [...]
To view an interview with RWU Law Visit Associate Professor of Law David Coombs, click here.