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Chelsea Manning begins hunger strike in military prison

She claims the military is refusing to treat her gender dysphoria.

IMPRISONED TRANSGENDER SOLDIER Chelsea Manning started a hunger strike today to protest what she says is the military’s refusal to treat her gender dysphoria, her representatives said.

Originally called Bradley, Manning was convicted in August 2013 of espionage and other offenses after admitting to handing classified documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

She attempted suicide in July and has repeatedly decried her treatment in a men’s military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she is appealing her 35-year sentence.

‘Ignored, delayed, mocked’

“I need help,” Manning wrote in a statement published by her media team.

“I have asked for help time and time again for six years and through five separate confinement locations. My request has only been ignored, delayed, mocked, given trinkets and lip service by the prison, the military and this administration.”

Fort Leavenworth did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After she was first sentenced, Manning announced that she identified as a woman, and she later obtained legal authorisation to change names and receive hormone therapy.

But she is still required to wear her hair short in accordance with male military grooming standards and is suing the government over the issue.

Dignity

“In response to virtually every request, I have been granted limited, if any, dignity and respect. Just more pain and anguish,” the 28-year-old private wrote.

She said the strike could last until she is permanently incapacitated or dead.

In June, the Pentagon said it would begin allowing openly transgender people to serve in the military and would cover related medical expenses, including gender reassignment surgeries when these are deemed “medically necessary.”

It is not clear if the new policy also applies to military prisoners.

- © AFP 2016.

Read: Chelsea Manning could be placed in solitary confinement in wake of suicide attempt>

Read: Chelsea Manning attempted to take her own life, legal team confirms>

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