Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The infuriating case of Chelsea Manning's quest for girl parts...

Last night, I read about Pfc. Bradley Manning, now going by Chelsea Manning, and the hunger strike she was on in order to force the government to allow gender reassignment surgery.  I would link to the article about this case, but my Internet is wonky today and for some reason, I can only get certain Web sites.  All of the news sites seem to crap out when I try to navigate to them.

Manning sits in a military prison because she was convicted by court-martial in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses.  That makes her a criminal.  Nevertheless, she has been struggling with gender dysmorphia and wishes the government to allow her to get gender reassignment surgery.

Now...  I have empathy for transgendered people.  I think if they want to change their gender, they should be allowed to do so.  However, I also think that they should pay for the surgery themselves rather than expecting taxpayers to foot the bill.  And so, let me go on record that I don't think it's right that Chelsea Manning will be getting her surgery while she's in prison.  Plenty of people who did not break the law can't even get basic medical care without paying through the nose.  Why should she be any different?

I have a feeling that there are a couple of reasons why Manning's demand for surgery is being granted.  Yes, there's the whole argument about political correctness and all, but I think the real reason behind this decision is that there are military doctors in the system who would like to get training in gender reassignment surgery.  It's the kind of procedure that is becoming more common, yet is still pretty rare.  So, while my friend's dad is fighting with the VA to get back surgery so he can feel his numb groin again, there could be military doctors wanting to do Manning's surgery or at least be involved in it.  It's a "sexy" procedure.

Bill has told me many times that military doctors have more leeway to do procedures than civilian doctors do.  They are unfettered by insurance companies and civilian style hospital administrations.  I wouldn't say that means they don't care about money.  Anyone who has visited a military medical facility can see that money is an issue.  However, the environment is not necessarily the same as it is in the civilian world.  Twelve years ago, Bill had a vasectomy reversal done courtesy of the government.  He didn't have to pay a cent for an elective surgery.  Why?  Because there were doctors in the military system willing to offer the surgery; they needed to keep up their skills for life beyond the military.

So that could be one reason why Manning is getting the expensive elective surgery she wants.  Of course, there's media and political pressure, too.  While a lot of people affiliated with the government think Manning is a traitor, plenty of other people think she's a heroine.

But really... I have this feeling that the surgery is being offered not for Manning's well-being, but because it eventually it will translate to money for someone else.  Time will tell.

Update on Zane...

Well, we managed to sleep through most of the night and there were no accidents this morning.  His colon is still a bit irritated and inflamed, but he seems to feel better than he did yesterday.  With any luck, his bowels will get back to normal soon.  He's enjoying the chicken, pumpkin, and yogurt diet he's on right now.


I posted about Manning on my Facebook page and a friend referred to her as "he" and, in the interest of continuity, I did too.  Once again, we were having a great discussion until some twit came along and said "She.  Manning is a she."  This was her only contribution to the conversation.  To which I wrote, "Whatever."

I usually try to be respectful of a person's desire to be recognized as a specific gender.  However, we're getting to the point at which our gender related pronouns are becoming obsolete because people are starting to declare whatever sex they want to be.  It's confusing, especially if you grew up in a time when none of this stuff was ever talked about, although transgendered people certainly existed.

The simple fact of the matter is, even if Manning has the surgery, s/he will still be biologically male because s/he will still have the Y chromosome.  There are still some things that Manning's body will and won't do due to the sex she was assigned at birth.  Maybe science will someday change that fact; but for now, it is what it is.

For the record, I respect Manning's desire to live as a woman.  I even respect her desire to have surgery to become female.  I just think she should be paying for her reassignment surgery herself.  Too many people who aren't in prison are denied basic healthcare.  Too many veterans who have served honorably are fighting the Veteran's Administration for care they need.

Whether or not I agree that Manning's actions that led to prison were "just", s/he still violated the law.  Because of that, s/he even has a platform denied to regular people who are just trying to get by.  Had s/he not violated the law, s/he would not have a platform.  And s/he would be living free, but may not have access to gender reassignment surgery.  In a weird way, Manning has fame in much the same way Elizabeth Smart has fame...  due to something "bad" happening.

And... just for the record, it's very annoying when people who aren't involved in a conversation on Facebook chime in to chastise people.  Hence my decision to say, "Whatever" to my friend who corrected us about Manning's gender.


  1. I'm glad Zane seems to be recovering.

    one of my military uncles had a shoulder issue. Whether or not surgery was indicated was rather iffy. The military doctors were gung-ho to go ahead with the procedure. My uncle got a second (non-military) opinion at his own expense. That doctor advised a wait-and-see approach; the shoulder wouldn't be harmed by waiting and might very well clear up with rest and rehabilitation. My uncle took his advice, and it did. My uncle felt, just as you stated, that those doctors were eager for the experience. It's still probably better than being so unwilling to operate that they'd rather watch the patient die, but why is either extreme needed?

    regarding sex-change surgery, i'm totally on the same page as you. Have it if it will enhance yuor life, but fund it yourself. Neither tax dollars nor private insurers (who, if they took it on, would in turn pass along the cost to all their subscribers) should cover sex-change procedures. Obviously, a baby born with manifestations of both genders in his or her sexual organs would be an exception, but that's a rarity.


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