Chelsea Manning, the Wikileaks leaker formerly known as Bradley Manning, is finally getting the hormone treatments she's been demanding for months.
In September of last year Manning sued the US Department of Defense, claiming she had been “denied access to medically necessary treatment” in connection with a gender disorder.
“She brings this action to compel defendants to treat her serious medical needs consistent with their obligation under the Constitution,” said the lawsuit. Manning's lawyers claimed that lack of hormonal treatment would cause Manning to "suffer continued pain, depression and anxiety" and that she "is at an extremely high risk of self-castration and suicidality.”
Manning and the ACLU said that the military was stalling.
Now, after many months, they've caved. USA Today obtained the internal memo, which grants Manning the "medically appropriate and necessary" treatments.
"After carefully considering the recommendation that (hormone treatment) is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I approve adding (hormone treatment) to Inmate Manning's treatment plan," wrote Col. Erica Nelson in the memo.
The American Civil Liberties Union, who has represented Chelsea Manning, applauded the decision.
"We are thrilled for Chelsea that the government has finally agreed to initiate hormone therapy as part of her treatment plan," said Chase Strangio, an attorney with the ACLU. "This is an important first step in Chelsea's treatment regimen and one that is in line with the recommendations of all of her doctors and the basic requirements of the Eighth Amendment."
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) February 13, 2015
Still, it's not a total victory. According to Strangio, the officials at Leavenworth are still refusing to let Manning grow her hair out – a step in her transformation that he describes as "critical".
In August of 2013, Pvt. Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for supplying WikiLeaks with 700,000 classified documents in 2010. Manning was found guilty on charges under the Espionage Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the code of military justice – but was spared the charge of “aiding the enemy”, the most serious of all the charges. If convicted of that crime, Manning could have faced up the 90 years behind bars.
Shortly after sentencing, Manning revealed that she was transgender, suffering from “gender dysphoria” – a condition in which a person does not identify with the sex assigned at birth.
It was recently announced that Chelsea Manning would soon begin writing columns on "war, gender, and freedom of information" for the US wing of The Guardian.
Above: Army Image of Chelsea Manning, in 2012 when known as Bradley Manning