Chelsea Manning to Begin Gender Treatment While in Prison

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved gender treatment for WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning's gender dysphoria. Manning will be treated while she serves her 35 year prison sentence for leaking national security documents. The decision comes after the Army was denied by the Bureau of Prisons a request to transfer Manning from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to a civilian prison where she could receive better treatment.

The Associated Press reports that Manning has been approved to begin a "rudimentary" treatment program that will include psychiatric and psychological consultations, but also allows Manning to begin wearing women's undergarments and shoes. Manning might also start receiving hormone treatments. From the Associated Press:

The decision raises a number of questions about what level of treatment Manning will be able to get and at what point the private would have to be transferred from the all-male prison to a female facility.

Manning has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, the sense of being a woman in a man's body. Civilian prisons can provide treatment, and the Defense Department has argued repeatedly that it doesn't have the medical expertise needed. As a result, the Army tried to work out a plan to transfer Manning to a federal prison.

"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."

[Image via AP]