Whistleblower Chelsea Manning to receive taxpayer-funded hormone therapy

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Chelsea Manning, the US Army intelligence analyst who was given a 35-year jail sentence for leaking national security secrets to Wikileaks, has been approved for US taxpayer-paid hormone therapy in the physical transition to become a woman.

The decision to grant Chelsea Manning, 27, who was born Bradley Manning, hormone therapy was revealed in a memo from officials at Fort Leavenworth prison, where Manning is serving his sentence.

A day after sentencing in August 2013, Manning declared she had felt female since childhood.

During her trial, Manning’s lawyers had argued that she had been disillusioned by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the public had a right to see the documents, which included military reports and diplomatic cables.

But while in prison, Manning remains a soldier and so the issue of hormone therapy had to be dealt with by the US Army.

A memo obtained by the US media describes the decision of the commandant of Fort Leavenworth prison to allow the treatment for Manning’s full transition to become a woman.

“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,” Col. Erica Nelson, the commandant of the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas, wrote in a Feb. 5 memo.

It was not clear when the treatment would start, although Nelson wrote that Manning would not be allowed “female hair grooming.”

Manning had requested hormone therapy so he could live as a woman. Transgender people are not allowed to serve in the US military so the Defense Department cannot pay for hormone therapy but the Department of Veterans Affairs does provide it.

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