With Pvt. Chelsea Manning back in the news for requesting to be treated for gender dysphoria at a civilian prison, many people have questions about what this means. What is “gender dysphoria,” exactly? What does it have to do with a gender transition? How is it treated? Why does Manning have a right to this treatment, and do all trans people need treatment? The topic can be confusing, but it boils down to a few essential points on what you need to know about transgender medical care: Keep reading »
Now that Chelsea Manning has expressed a desire to medically transition through hormone replacement therapy, there are a lot of questions circling about what Leavenworth looks like for a trans woman, and how exactly someone might transition from male to female in prison. While Manning’s case itself is complicated, the question of what kind of healthcare someone deserves in prison is fairly simple. There are clear legal and moral arguments for Manning receiving hormones once they are prescribed by a doctor. This isn’t about what she did or did not do; it’s about the basic commitment we make as a society when we lock someone up.
When someone commits a crime, no matter how heinous, we still have an obligation as a society to provide their basic needs while they serve their time. As Lesley Kinzel argued when writing about the Michelle Kosilek case last year, “What makes us better than murderers is that we value human life, even the lives of those who don’t value life themselves, their own included.” Whether or not you agree with Manning’s release of classified information, we consider a decent life a collective value, enshrined in the basic rights that are guaranteed by our Constitution. Courts have already held that the 8th Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment confers a right to adequate medical care in prison, and medical experts and courts have consistently found that hormone therapy is a medically necessary treatment for transgender people for whom it’s prescribed. Keep reading »
Androgyny is in. From supermodel Andrej Pejic to gender-neutral parenting articles, the media can’t get enough of us non-binary (“boy” or “girl”) folks lately.
But is not identifying as male or female really about androgyny? Is being elsewhere on the gender spectrum the same as being gender neutral? I look at pictures of Pejic and I wonder if I’m missing something everyone else sees. It’s hard to recognize androgyny (showing characteristics of both sexes) in a person walking down the street in five-inch heels, short shorts, and a flowing top, blonde locks perfectly coiffed Marilyn Monroe-style. The same is true for us average non-binary folks. Many of us identify, like Pejic, as neither male nor female, yet our gender presentation is not neutral either. Trying to get us into that box takes a lot of squeezing, tugging, and tucking.
Keep reading »