I’ve talked about Manning as male, because there’s been nothing but silence and denial on this front from his family and his attorneys, and I simply don’t know how else to refer to him. But I do know what happens when you take one of us and lock us away for most of our early twenties, unable to access treatments like those he was seeking. It horrifies me, and it should horrify anyone else who truly understands what it means to be held hostage by our own bodies.
Pfc. Bradley Manning’s mental health was the focus of Wednesday morning’s testimony in the ongoing court-martial, which entered the sentencing phase after the 25-year-old private was found guilty of 20 of the 22 charges against him on July 30. Journalist Kevin Gosztola reports that Cpt. Michael Worsley, a clinical psychiatrist whom Bradley Manning had sessions with in Iraq, testified as a defense witness and spoke about his patient’s struggle with his gender identity.
Worsley testified that he diagnosed Manning with anxiety disorder and a personality disorder, noting that the young soldier revealed that not only was he homosexual, he was beginning to identify as a woman instead of a man. It’s important to note that Manning could have been court-martialed and kicked out of the military for being homosexual in 2010, as “don’t ask, don’t tell” was still in place. When asked about the soldier’s peers and surroundings, Worsley testified, “Put in a hyper-masculine environment, and with little support and few coping skills, the pressure [to cope with and share his gender identity issues] would have been difficult to say the least. It would have been incredible.”
4. The U.S. Army FOIA Electronic Reading Room also released a classified email and picture of Manning dressed as a woman that Manning sent to his superior officer a month before his arrest:
From: Manning, Bradley SPC BDE 52
Sent: Saturday, April 24, 2010 7:49 PM
To: Adkins, Paul lSCTlaMTN MSG BCT Sl NCO!C
Subject: [UNCLASSIFIED] My Problem (UNCLASSIFIED]
This is my problem. I’ve had signs of it for a very long time. Its caused problems within my family. I thought a career in the military would get rid of it. It’s not something I seek out for attention and I’ve been trying very very hard to get rid of it by placing myself in situations where it would be impossible. But, it’s not going away, its haunting me more and more as I get older. Nows the consequences of it are dire, at a time when its causing me great pain in itself.
As a result, I’m not sure what to do about it. It’s destroyed my ties with my family, caused me to lose several jobs and it’s currently affecting my career and preventing me from developing as a person. It’s the cause of my pain and confusion and turns even the most basic things in my life extremely difficult.
I don’t know what to do anymore.. and the only “help” that seems to be available is severe punishment and/or getting rid of me . All I do know.. is that fear of getting caught has caused me to go to great lengths to consciously hide the problem. As a result, the problem and the constant cover-up has worn me down to a point where it’s always on my mind, making it difficult to concentrate at work, difficult to pay attention to whatever is going on, difficult to sleep, impossible to have any meaningful conversations, and makes my entire life feel like a bad dream that won’t end.
Like I said, I don’ t know what to do and I don’t know whats going to happen, but at this point, it feels like I’m not really *here* anymore, and everyone’s concerned about me and afraid of me. I’m sorry,
SPC Manning), Bradley
Commando SEG Analyst (1000C-2200C)
S2 Fusion Cell1 26CT 10MTN
FOB Hammer, Iraq
5. In chat logs from around this time, Manning wrote that he began to grow troubled about his gender identity soon after arriving in Iraq in October 2009. He said that the stress of deployment led him to question whether he truly identified as a man.
6. Manning confessed that he was afraid of being caught leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks because there would be pictures of him “as a boy” in the media.
7. The day before his arrest, Manning began to establish a digital presence for “Breanna Manning,” the name he planned to assume after transitioning.