WikiLeaks leaker Chelsea Manning announces she has ended a hunger strike because the Army has agreed to provide her with gender transition surgery.
The US Army soldier was convicted by court-martial in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly three-quarters of a million classified or unclassified but sensitive military and diplomatic documents.
Psychologists recommended in April that Chelsea Manning should receive the treatment.
The move comes after the US military in July lifted a ban on transgender people in the armed forces.
“I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the right thing. I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted – for them to let me be me,” Chelsea Manning, 28, said in a statement.
The US Army has so far declined to comment.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which represented Chelsea Manning, confirmed that she would be provided with medical treatment.
ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio, said: “This is a monumental day for Chelsea, who can now enjoy some peace knowing that critically needed medical care is forthcoming.
“Thankfully the government has recognized its constitutional obligation to provide Chelsea with the medical care that she needs.”
Chelsea Manning began her hunger strike on September 9, saying she was being bullied by the US government and denied treatment for gender dysphoria.
In July, Chelsea Manning attempted suicide over the lack of treatment.
She will now be treated under the US military’s new transgender policy, which also allows troops to transition gender while serving and aims to set standards for medical care.
However Chelsea Manning’s campaign team said she could still face being put in solitary confinement as punishment for having tried to commit suicide.
Chelsea Manning, who was arrested as Bradley Manning, is serving a 35-year sentence at the all-male Fort Leavenworth military facility in Kansas.
She was convicted in a military court of leaking more than 700,000 secret files to WikiLeaks after having worked as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.
Shortly afterwards she announced Chelsea Manning would start living as a woman.
The US Army will begin treatment for document leaker Chelsea Manning for her gender-identity condition.
Defense secretary Chuck Hagel has approved gender treatment for Private First Class Manning, who was formerly known as Bradley.
The move came after the bureau of prisons rejected the Army’s request to transfer her from a military facility.
Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified files to WikiLeaks.
The US Army will begin treatment for document leaker Chelsea Manning for her gender-identity condition
The soldier has been diagnosed by military doctors with gender dysphoria, the sense of one’s gender being at odds with the sex assigned at birth.
Following her conviction in July 2013 on 20 charges in connection with the leaks of military and diplomatic documents, Pte Chelsea Manning requested treatment including hormone therapy, and to be allowed to live as a woman.
A lawyer for Chelsea Manning threatened in May to sue the Army if she was not given gender change therapy in military prison.
Nancy Hollander argued the military had an obligation to treat the soldier’s “transgender issues”, and she would not be safe if transferred to a civilian prison for treatment there.
In April, a judge granted the soldier’s petition to change her name legally from Bradley to Chelsea, and according to a court filing by Pte Manning’s legal team, a military doctor at Fort Leavenworth had approved a treatment plan by November 2013.
The US military is required to offer medical treatment to its soldiers, but Pentagon policy prohibits transgender people from serving openly in the military.
Chelsea Manning will not be discharged from the military until she has finished her prison term.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said earlier the policy on transgender service members should be “continuously reviewed” but has not said whether he believes the policy should be overturned.
A previous study by the Palm Center estimated there were 15,000 transgender US military members and 130,000 veterans.
Convicted soldier Bradley Manning has revealed that he wants to live as a woman named Chelsea and intends to undergo hormone therapy to begin his transition to a female.
Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday for leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, made the shock announcement through his attorney on the Today show on Thursday.
“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female,” Bradley Manning wrote in the statement entitled, The Next Stage of My Life.
“Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.”
Bradley Manning added that he now wishes to be referred to as Chelsea and as a “she” rather than a “he”.
On Thursday, Bradley Manning’s lawyer David Coombs denied the former intelligence analyst was making this announcement for the attention or because she was a narcissist.
“Chelsea didn’t want to have this be something that overshadowed the case,” he explained.
In this undated photo provided by the US Army, Bradley Manning poses wearing a wig and lipstick
David Coombs added that Fort Leavenworth, where Bradley Manning is serving her term, does not provide hormone therapy for soldiers, but that he hoped it would “do the right thing” and provide it.
“If not, I am going to everything in my power to make sure everything is done to force them,” he said.
During the 12-week court case, an image that was released by the Army emerged showing Bradley Manning wearing a blonde wig and makeup in a photograph she had taken herself.
“She never really wanted this to be public,” David Coombs added of Bradley Manning’s identity.
“Now that it is, unfortunately, you have to deal with it in a public manner.”
Bradley Manning’s lawyers had argued throughout the case that he was under incredible stress at the time of the leaks due to his struggles with gender identity disorder in the masculine environment.
On Wednesday, Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking an unprecedented volume of classified documents to WikiLeaks.
The 25-year-old first class Army private appeared not to show any emotion when his long-awaited fate was read out, though spectators gasped inside the military courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland.
Because of the 1,294 days he has already spent in custody, Bradley Manning will immediately shave three and a half years off his 35-year term.
Bradley Manning is eligible for parole after serving at least one-third of the sentence, which means he could be free in eight years, when he’s 33 or 34 years old.
He also learned he will be reduced in grade to the rank of private E1, dishonorably discharged from the military and forfeit all pay and allowances.
In a press conference following the hearing defense attorney David Coombs said he was saddened by the sentence, adding that it didn’t represent the harm his client had caused.
David Coombs said: “When I heard the sentence I thought to myself <<I have represented hundreds of clients some of them have committed murders and some have molested children and those clients received less time than private Manning>>.”
He added that he was surprised by the decision to dishonorably discharge Bradley Manning from the military, adding: “Bradley Manning is a man of honor.”