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Chelsea Manning, the Army private who has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking thousands of documents to Wikileaks, may be moved to a civilian prison to receive gender hormone treatment, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
Manning has provided the military with a conundrum. She was convicted as “Bradley Manning” and was diagnosed with gender dysphoria. A judge has allowed her birth certificate to be changed to read “Chelsea Manning” and notes that her gender is female. However, the military does not allow transgender individuals to serve, notes The Washington Post. She also can’t be discharged while serving in prison.
The Pentagon didn’t challenge the official name change and now is even looking for a possibility to get Manning necessary hormone therapy. According to the Associated Press, no military convict had ever made a request for gender treatment, so she would be unable to receive the treatment if she remains in a military prison. The issue with that is that it could be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
So, Manning will have to be transferred to a civilian prison, an option the Defense Department is leaving open. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel did give the OK to pursue options for Manning, but Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told the AP that no firm decision has been made.
Hagel said this weekend that he is “open” to a review of the military’s transgender policy.