In a decision that trans military whisteblower Chelsea Manning's lead legal counsel is calling an "important victory," the U.S. Army Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that Manning must be referred to with either feminine or neutral pronouns in all court filings, reports Politico.
Manning, 27, who is currently serving 35 years in military prison for exposing U.S. security secrets to website Wikileaks, will now be referred to as "Private First Class Manning," "the apellant," or "she" in all "future formal papers filed before this court and all future orders and decisions issued by this court," orders the ruling.
Before this order, the U.S. military had consistently referred to Manning as a man, stating last month, "Unless directed otherwise by this honorable court, the government intends to refer to [Manning] using masculine pronouns," notes Time.
Manning's team is heartened by the display of respect for Manning's female gender identity. Manning's attorney, Nancy Hollander, declared in a statement that Manning has been "mistreated by the government for years" since her 2010 conviction under the Espionage Act. "[My co-counsel and I] are thrilled that Chelsea will be respected as the woman she is in all legal filings," she added.
Manning has also been represented by the American Civil Liberties Union since September 2014, when the advocacy group first filed a lawsuit against the Pentagon and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, demanding Manning receive access to transition-related health care deemed medically necessary by military doctors, including psychological care, hormone therapy, and gender-affirmings surgeries, in line with the American Psychatric Association and American Medical Association's stances on transition-related health care.
Manning has been lobbying for such treatments since shortly after she came out as trans in August 2013, and had been reportedly approved by Hagel for "rudimentary" treatment for her diagnosed gender dysphoria in July 2014. But a month later Manning made a public statement that she had not received any treatment, and had instead been subject to government "lip service."
Last month, the Defense Department announced that Manning was approved for hormone treatment, but has yet to indicate if or when she will begin to recieve such care.