13 Feb 2015

US first as Chelsea Manning to get hormone therapy

In a first for the US military Chelsea Manning, the soldier serving 35-years in prison for sending classified documents to Wikileaks, is to receive hormone therapy as part of her gender reassignment.

Chelsea Manning

Transgender people are not allowed to serve in the US military and the defence department does not provide hormone treatment.

However Manning, still a private in the US army, has been approved for hormone therapy treatment so she can live as a woman, according to a memo obtained by USA Today.

“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,” Colonel Erica Nelson, the commandant of the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas where Manning is detained, said.

‘Psychosexual condition’

Manning, previously known as Bradley, was jailed for 35 years for releasing documents – including diplomatic cables and military reports – to WikiLeaks.

Her defence team argued in court that she became disillusioned by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and felt the documents should be seen by the public.
Manning is eligible for parole in seven years.

Currently the Department of Defence bars all transgender people from holding any position in the military and has in place a policy which categorises being transgender as a “psychosexual condition” – equating it to a mental disorder.

There have been growing calls for the military to reverse its ban, which appeared to be heard when Chuck Hagel, who is currently being replaced as defence chief, last year said that he was “open” to reviewing the military’s position on trans service members.

However, no review of the policy has yet been ordered.