Chelsea Manning, the United States Army solider that disclosed classified military documents and information to WikiLeaks, has been assured she will receive gender reassignment surgery while in prison. Army Pvt. Manning is currently serving a 35-year sentence after being court-martialed in July of 2013 for violating the Espionage act and other offenses.
According to the ACLU Manning will be the first individual to be granted sex reassignment surgery while in prison. The U.S. government agreed to provide the medical treatment after Manning went on a week-long hunger strike to protest her treatment while incarcerated for her crimes. She claims that she has been mistreated while being held at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, KS.
Manning has released a statement about the U.S. Army’s decision to allow the surgery via the ACLU:
“I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the right thing. I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted — for them to let me be me. But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long. Also, why were such drastic measures needed?”
Manning seems perplexed that the government was unwilling to allow tax payers to cover the cost of her surgery while she is incarcerated despite being charged with 22 offenses. Her crimes include “aiding the enemy” a charge that can end with the death penalty. Manning, however, will be eligible for parole in just six years.