The former U.S. Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning will begin gender transition under U.S. military custody. The Bureau of Prisons rejected the Army's request to accept her transfer from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to a civilian facility, so this is their solution for her special case, according to The Associated Press.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved the Army’s recommendation to keep her in custody while starting a rudimentary level of gender treatment, one official said. The treatments could include Manning being allowed to wear female undergarments and undergo hormone treatments. "It has been almost a year since we first filed our request for adequate medical care," Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, said. "I am hopeful that when the Army says it will start a 'rudimentary level' of treatment that this means hormone replacement therapy."
Coombs said that if proper treatment is not provided, he will have to take, "appropriate legal action to ensure Chelsea finally receives the medical treatment she deserves and is entitled to under the law." However, some are still questioning the level of treatment, and they wonder when Manning would be able to be transferred to a female facility.
This initial case started after Manning was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, which is when someone identifies with the opposing gender and feels they are stuck in the wrong body. Federal authorities rejected the proposal to send Manning to a federal prison where she could get better treatment.
Manning wants the treatment plan to incorporate three levels: a real-life experience, where she would begin to dress in feminine clothing; hormone therapy, where she could start transitioning her change from male to female, with the help of pharmaceuticals; and sex reassignment surgery. According to the AP, however, Manning has not publicly said whether she wants surgery, and the proposed plan was not released.
Coombs also added that a military prison would provide better safety for Manning. "It is common knowledge that the federal prison system cannot guarantee the safety and security of Chelsea in the way that the military prison system can," he said.
And since Manning is still in the military and her case is one of national security, this could pose a bigger obstacle for her request to be accepted.
Manning is convicted of leaking government secrets to WikiLeaks and cannot be discharged from the Army while serving the 35-year prison sentence.