Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning has ended a hunger strike after being given permission to have gender transition surgery. The U.S. Army private, who was born male and was named Bradley Manning, will be the first transgender inmate to receive the treatment in prison. The 28-year-old, serving a 35-year sentence for leaking U.S. government documents, said she was relieved but annoyed it had taken so long to have the surgery approved. American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Chase Strangio said Manning should “enjoy some peace” knowing the medical care was coming.
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
Manning is serving her sentence at Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks, Kansas, after being convicted in August 2013 of espionage and other offences. Her lawyers plan to appeal her conviction, saying “no whistleblower in American history has been sentenced this harshly”. However, in July it was reported the former intelligence analyst attempted suicide after being refused treatment for gender dysphoria, where one feels their psychological identity to be opposite to one’s biological sex. She began her hunger strike on Friday over the delay in getting surgery and because prison authorities wanted her to cut her hair to meet U.S. military standards.
But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long. … In any case, I hope this sets a precedent for the thousands of trans people behind me hoping they will be given the treatment they need.