Chelsea Manning has reportedly begun a life-threatening hunger strike, in an attempt to protest the lack of “dignity, respect, and humanity” she has seen in prison.
The transgender whistleblower, who leaked a series of classified documents to Wikileaks in 2010, is currently serving a 35-year sentence at Kansas military prison. In a statement released on the Free Chelsea Manning website on Friday, she announced her plans to stop voluntarily consuming all food and drink, aside from water and her prescribed medication. According to a statement, the decision was reached after Manning’s gender dysphoria was ignored by prison authorities.
“I need help,” she revealed. “I am not getting any. I have asked for help time and time again for six years and through five separate confinement locations. My request has only been ignored, delayed, mocked, given trinkets and lip service by the prison, the military, and this administration.”
“I needed help,” the whistleblower continued. “Yet, instead I am now being punished for surviving my attempt. When I was a child, my father would beat me repeatedly for simply not being masculine enough. I was told to stop crying – to ‘suck it up.’ But, I couldn’t stop crying. The pain just got worse and worse. Until finally, I just couldn’t take the pain anymore.”
“I needed help, but no one came then. No one is coming now.”
Manning explained that the hunger strike will be ongoing, lasting “quite possibly” until her “permanent incapacitation or death”. She added that she had submitted a “do not resuscitate” letter with immediate effect. “I am ready for this,” she wrote.
“I am no longer asking. Now, I am demanding,” Manning stressed. “Today, I have decided that I am no longer going to be bullied by this prison – or by anyone within the US government. I have asked for nothing but the dignity and respect – that I once actually believed would be provided for – afforded to any living human being.”