Chelsea Manning May Be Transferred to Civilian Prison For Gender Treatment, Pentagon Says

| by Allison Geller

The Pentagon is trying to have Chelsea Manning transferred to a civilian prison to get treatment for her gender disorder, defense officials said.

Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, was convicted of sending classified documents to WikiLeaks. While in prison, Manning requested hormone therapy so she could fulfill her feminine identity. 

The request was a first for the Defense Department, Fox News reports. While Manning has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria multiple times by military doctors, to acknowledge that she is transgender violates U.S. military and Defense Department policy. But Manning can’t be discharged while serving out her 35-year prison sentence.

Some officials have argued privately that keeping Manning in prison without treatment equals cruel and unusual punishment.

Manning wrote in her complaint that she had specifically asked the military to consider “three types of treatment”: “real life experience,” in which she would dress and live at a woman (not allowed in the men’s facility where she is being held), hormone therapy, and sex reassignment surgery.

Officials said that two agencies are discussing plans for a transfer, though nothing has been confirmed.

"No decision to transfer Pvt. Manning to a civilian detention facility has been made, and any such decision will, of course, properly balance the soldier's medical needs with our obligation to ensure she remains behind bars," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

According to The New York Times, a judge denied Manning’s bid for clemency and upheld her 35-year sentence, calling the document leak the “biggest breach of classified materials in American history.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in an interview on ABC’s The Week that he was “open” to changing military policy banning transgender service members.

Sources: Fox News, The New York Times