On Chelsea Manning

In a normal course of events, I wouldn’t be all that interested in wading into a fight that is as ugly as this one has become.

This is not a normal course of events.  This is the worst possible course of events.

Typically, I try to avoid the name and shame game, the specifical calling out of people, and while I will try to do so again with this post, I can’t promise it as I am incredibly disheartened by the actions of many of my brothers, sisters, and siblings in this fight for the rights of trans people.

So let me just dive in and make a few things clear for everyone.

The Constitution of the United States is not something you get to argue with in this matter.  You can bitch about it, you can complain aboutit, but in the end, I really don’t give a flying fuck what you say, because the fact of the matter is that all persons in prison in the United States have rights, and thsoe rights are inalienable, and they are that way, in the United States, because of the constitution.

The same constitution that those of us who entered military service took an oath to serve, protect, and defend. In various forms, at various times.

We agreed to give our lives in service to that scrap of paper.  That scrap of Paper that is, really, the foundation, the core agreement, the reason for, the United States of America.

Now, I spend an awful lot of time talking about civil rights and political rights and I’m all for revisiting the nature of what that means, but understand this, right now:

The Constitution is still there, and when you shit on it, you piss me right the fuck off, you son of a bitch.

Which means that right now I am very pissed off as many trans people are shitting on the constitution. Want some examples?  Sure!  No problem!  Here you go:

Twitter:

so until our federal government requires my insurance to cover hrt and srs, they do not need to part for his,

if I have to pay for mine out of my pocket, do does he

a criminal should never have more rights, privileges or benifits than those that that are supporting the imprisoned

to do so is cruel and unusual punishment forced onto society

On Facebook:

Manning is a tarnish on my dream, he is a tarnish on Dr. Kings Dream.

As a hard working Trans man who is not only paying for my transition, but also my education; I say no, the Government shouldn’t pay for this. I am not getting any financial assistance from anyone for this, a convicted criminal should not.

There are similar tumblr and television and news articles and opinion pieces.

And that’s just Trans people.

As of this moment, while I am writing this, I have a question in to TAVA on facebook about their response to Chelsea Manning’s crimes and her request.

When I get a response from them, I will decide if it merits inclusion here.

I am not going to get into the question of whether or not Chelsea manning did a good thing or a bad thing.  I’m not going to get into the question of how much of what Chelsea did influenced the decision of Edward Snowden.

What I am going to say, though is the Chelsea was convicted of crimes in a military court. She was sentenced to a punishment that consists of confinement in Leavenworth Federal Military Penitentiary.

That is the punishment for this crime — to be locked away from the world for 35 years.  That might change — some reports I’ve seen but have yet to verify assert she could have her sentence reduced or commuted, I’ve read that her lawyer is seeking to a Presidential Pardon or a JCOS reversal.

So I don’t particularly care if people are upset about what she did. She was found guilty in a court, and needs to decide what to do from there.

I’m going to co-opt what Brynn says here:

“If you’re wondering if she’s being embraced as a hero in the military trans community, she is absolutely not,” Tannehill says. “People in our group can empathize with the strain that being transgender and closeted in the military causes, but we do not in any way, shape, or form think this excuses or mitigates what she did.”

She’s speaking for many of those who are currently serving, and I agree with the sentiment myself, as a veteran.

There are many, many civilians — trans and cis and otherwise — that find her a great heroine,  and find the decision by that court as unjust and faulty.

I do understand that a lot of people take exception and are troubled by the argument made by her defense — that the issues caused by other people because of their intolerance and ugliness towards trans people may have led to her actions in what she did.

More importantly, I can understand how a lot of people fear that this affects the work of opening up our military service to trans people serving openly, and that this makes all trans people look bad.

Well, I can understand those thoughts.

I disagree with the part about making us look bad.  I disagree vehemently, and in no small part because there isn’t much more that anyone can do to make us look worse than we already do.  This isn’t going to be much of anything.

What seriously pisses me off, though, is when people  — trans people — say that she should not be given medically necessary treatment which is her constitutional right as a citizen of the United States.

That is a completely different issue from her crimes.

Anyone who has followed the case closely — and a great many trans people have — knows that the whole thing about her being trans isn’t even news.  Breana is what she was described of often, and may of us knew exactly what the outcome of the trial was going to be and were wondering why it was that her trannsess wasn’t brought up more often.

Turns out, that was her request and her lawyer’s request, as it was part of her defense.

Didn’t work out very well, which is why I’m not worried too damn much about it.  Yes, it will be raised when the topic finally hits congress, and it will hit congress.  Big deal.  It wasn’t a good thing then, and it isn’t a good thing now.  We have and will deal with far worse things than that — hell, we still have people using trans panic defenses.

Which this essentially was, when you think about it.

So its objectively bunk, but subjectively, who among you can speak to the mind of Chelsea Manning?  Seriously which one of you?

Because I doubt very much any of you are fucking mind readers.

We have gained support as a result of her actions.  End of story.  We won’t lose that much and they will come back because in the end, that ‘bad image” is just another stereotype, just another part of the larger issue of stigma and shame and the first thing we have to do to end it in society is end it among ourselves.

Again, however, my greatest anger is those who would deny the medically necessary care, those who deny her the very civil rights we are fighting to get people to stop denying us.

That is fucking infuriating.  That mooing you hear?  That’s me,

Let’s look at this for a moment:

Why is it that the only people who have to fight for medically necessary care in the US prison system are Trans people?

Seriously now, why is that?

250,000 dollar transplant procedures are paid for every single fucking month for prisoners.  65,000 dollar dialysis efforts.  HIV and AIDS medications. Regular prescriptions.

What, do you think they are going to pay for FFS and breast augs?  For fucks sake, people, no way in hell are they going to do that.

SRS and Hormones are considered medically necessary treatment.  You all know that, or you all should know that.  Every major medical org in the United States says so — as does the World Health Organization and for crying out loud weren’t a ton of people just crowing about how Cuba covers it a few years ago?

Did people suddenly forget that San Francisco did that whole huge study and found that it is cheaper to pay for hormones and surgery than to not do so, because the cost of care for the trans people was much higher?

Did people forget that the idea of Cruel and Unusual Punishment is even built into the fucking geneva convention? You remember that, right?  Enemy combatants and all that in the rules of war?

That denying medical care is just plain wrong?

SO WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING SAYING TRANS PEOPLE SHOULD NOT HAVE MEDICAL CARE, PEOPLE!?!?!?!

ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID!?!

* clears throat, adjusts top*

Or wait, are you arguing that this is a special case?

It isn’t.  It is a case that could force the military to provide hormones for trans soldiers — by court order.

ANd if they do it for just prisoners — and remember, military prisons are included in the Rape relief act that a crapload of us trans people just fought really freaking hard to get passed (and one that stops them from segregating LGBT people and forbids the use of isolation) — then they will possibly have to deal with doing it for those currently serving.

Or, we could end up with another don’t ask, don’t tell.  We could end up with rules that say no transition until after you are out, and we could end up with rules that say you have to transition before entering.

WHo the fuck knows.

It doesn’t matter anyway, because this is still about the civil rights of a trans person.

And if you go against the civil rights of one, you make the arguments against the civil rights of all of us.

And that is why I say people are shitting all over the constitution.

Estelle v Gamble in 1976, Helling v McKinely in 1993, and Farmer V Brennan are all SCOTUS level decisions that provide the foundation for this, in particular, with the last one involving a trans women who contracted HIV as a result of Prison Rape.

This isn’t anything new. 7th Circuit, 1st Circuit — 2011.  4th Circuit in this year alone.

IF you surrender this, think on this little bit here:

Obamacare is coming to a state near many of you (not so much in the deep south, but, well otherwise).

It will cover hormones.  It is supposed to cover medically necessary care across the board.

There is a whole crapload of stuff going on behind the scenes that no one ever talks about because if we do it too fucking loudly it could fuck it up (and yet, here I am doing it) in order to make sure that SRS is included.

That’s NEXT YEAR.

2014.

That doesn’t mean getting your surgery is going to be a lot easier, mind you.  Many of our surgeons are sorta notorious for hating government paperwork and the price limit set on it by the government is going to have an impact,

It will take about three years, maybe five, but we will see a massive shift int he way that trans surgery is provided and who is providing it.  The smart ones are keeping up with this stuff.

SO when you argue that she shouldn’t get her care, you are also arguing that trans people shouldn’t get theirs.  Especially if you use that whole “on my dime” bullshit taxpayer thing.

You aren’t the only taxpayer in the country, people and unless you pay tens of millions in taxes, your personal taxes amount to so fucking little that it isn’t even worth trying to break it down as part of a dollar.  The number of zeros between the zero and your first digit are too many to overcome.

It is coming anyway.

Your insurance company knows it. You can bet your sweet ass they do.

Also, remember that nearly every major insurance provider in the nation already has a policy that covers trans people.

Employers have to ask for them, right now (next year, not so much).  They have more to do with why your company plan doesn’t cover it than the insurance company does, and you pay into that to pay for all kinds of things.

So sorry, no — you will be arguing the same damn thing that are going to be argued, and loudly, starting next year. That are already being argued, if you pay attention to the biggest haters, who have pretty much stopped going after gay people and are turning their attention to us.

No.  Stop it.

Now.

You are shitting on trans people, you are shitting on the constitution and don’t you fucking dare tell me to moderate my language right now.

You can ask me tomorrow if I wouldn’t mind writing a new post about this that isn’t as harsh, but right now?

Today?

No.  I am pissed off and I want you to know it and see it and realize just how fucking stupid this is.

YOU DO NOT THROW PEOPLE OUT OF THE COMMUNITY.

YOU DO NOT TREAT FELLOW TRANS PEOPLE LIKE SHIT.

YOU DO NOT DENY FELLOW TRANS PEOPLE THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS.

I don’t care who it is.

I did, for two years.  I treated every major separatist like crap because I was so fucking tied up in the bullshit I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

ANd finally, one day, I pulled my head out of my ass and asked myself why the fuck was I shitting on these people?

THey are trans people.  It doesn’t matter if they are being idiots.

You are, as well.  I’m not saying that I’ll call for throwing you out of the community, because I won’t.  I am going to tell you that you are being an idiot — and I fully expect it from separatists.

They already do the work of those who oppress us.

We don’t need to help them ourselves.

So stop it.