Understanding Chelsea Manning’s Gender Dysphoria and Why She Deserves To Be Allowed To Transition In Prison

Trans and atheist activist vlogger extraordinaire Zinnia Jones went on CNN twice in the last few days to defend Chelsea Manning’s rights to have her gender dysphoria treated in prison and was as incredibly concise and articulate as I would expect from her.

The first video Zinnia recounts her own knowledge of Chelsea’s process of coming to terms with her gender dysphoria, based on personal interactions with her:

Then today, she talked more focusedly about Chelsea’s right to transition in prison:

Key takeaway:

We sentence people to incarceration. We don’t sentence them to untreated medical conditions. We don’t sentence them to untreated gender dysphoria just as we don’t sentence them to untreated kidney failure, untreated infections, or anything else of the sort. When the government takes on inmates and incarcerates them, it becomes responsible for their medical care. And this condition from a medical and scientific perspective is no different from any other medical condition that requires treatment. And increasingly from a legal perspective as well. Civilian courts have found in almost all cases that prisons are required to provide hormone therapy and increasingly surgery as well. Not to do so is considered cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment.

And while we are on the topic of Zinnia, she has written a fascinatingly informative and bravely open piece about her decision, for the time being, to have her testicles removed but not to undergo vaginoplasty.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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