Chelsea Manning Attempted Suicide, Lawyers Confirm

Chelsea Manning, 28, made an attempt to take her own life last week, according to her lawyers, as previously reported by BBC.

Manning, a transgender soldier sentenced to 35 years in prison for releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, took to Twitter to provide her followers an update about the state of her health.

“I am okay. I’m glad to be alive,” the tweet read, which was dictated by Manning by telephone to her lawyers. “Thank you for all your love. I will get through this.”

Last week, media reports revealed to the public that Chelsea Manning had tried to commit suicide. This didn’t sit well with Chelsea. Before long, her lawyers accused the US military of “breach of confidentiality” for disclosing their client’s state of health without authorization.

“The government’s gross breach of confidentiality in disclosing her personal health information to the media has created the very real concern that they may continue their unauthorized release of information about her publicly without warning,” Manning’s lawyers said in a statement. “Due to these circumstances, Chelsea Manning requested that we communicate with the media and her friends and supporters on her behalf.”

Army spokesman Wayne Hall has revealed that Manning has since been returned to confinement. According to an unnamed source, Manning attempted suicide by hanging, as reported by TMZ.

ACLU attorney Chase Strangio took to Twitter Tuesday to confirm Manning’s suicide attempt, explaining that the legal team communicated with her on Monday.

“Last week, Chelsea made a decision to end her life … She knows that people have questions about how she is doing and she wants everyone to know that she remains under close observation by the prison and expects to remain on this status for the next several weeks. For us, hearing Chelsea’s voice after learning that she had attempted to take her life last week was incredibly emotional. She is someone who has fought so hard for so many issues we care about and we are honored to fight for her freedom and medical care.”

In July 2013, Chelsea Manning was convicted for violating the Espionage Act while still under the name Bradley Manning. Before long, Chelsea transitioned into a woman, turning her into a high-profile figure. Even as a prisoner, Manning wrote opinion pieces on The Guardian, championing the rights of transgenders with her writing.

In a July 1 article for The Guardian, Chelsea approved the US military’s decision to repeal the ban on transgender troops, writing that the move was a step in the right direction in terms of recognizing the rights and dignity of transgenders all over the world. She, however, criticized the US military for including the stipulation requiring transgenders to release a certification proving that they’re stable 18 months after transitioning, calling it a misuse of established standards of medical care.

“What is the stability of gender?” Chelsea Manning wrote. “Isn’t gender an inherently unstable concept — always being constrained by the various context and rules under which we live?”

Manning also questioned whether the new rules will apply to U.S. troops who are incarcerated.

“I am deeply concerned that like so many policies, the impact of this change won’t penetrate the prison walls,” she wrote. “What does it mean that the military will recognize our gender, unless and until we are arrested, and then what? This core identity is then stripped away and our birth assigned sex is imposed on us?”

Last year, Manning was approved for hormone therapy shortly after being diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a condition where a person feels a mismatch between her biological sex and gender identity. The decision came after a lawsuit was filed in US District Court alleging that Chelsea Manning has a high risk of committing self-castration and suicide unless she received treatment for gender dysphoria.

[Photo by U.S. Army/AP Photo]