The Army now must refer to incarcerated soldier Chelsea Manning as “she,” or in gender-neutral terms, a military appeals court says.
The 27-year old Manning, a former intelligence analyst, is undergoing gender reassignment from male to female while serving a 35-year sentence in the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for leaking classified material to the website WikiLeaks. Previously known as Bradley Manning, the young private first class legally changed her name last April to Chelsea.
The government objected to Manning’s use of female pronouns in court filings, and forbade her from doing so. The latest ruling from the appeals court now prohibits the use of masculine pronouns in reference to Manning.
“This is an important distinction for Chelsea, both personally and legally,” attorney Nancy Hollander tells PEOPLE. Hollander, who is handling the criminal appeal in Manning’s case, filed the motion regarding the use of pronouns. “But it’s most important on a personal level.
“You would not like being a called a man,” Hollander said to a female journalist. “And neither does she.”
Manning, who was born male and identifies as female, has gender dysphoria, Hollander says. The Army wanted to refer to Manning as male. “That’s just not right,” Hollander said; hence, the court filing.
The ruling also will create important distinctions in terms of Manning’s medical treatment, the lawyer says.
Manning, who won the right to be issued female undergarments, has not been assigned female quarters at Ft. Leavenworth, Hollander says.
“She is housed with male prisoners, and will continue to be housed with them.”
The living arrangement has created no issues for Manning, Hollander says.
“She has no problems with her fellow prisoners. She is doing well. As well as one can when in prison.”