Chelsea Manning, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified files, ended his hunger strike in exchange for the Army allowing him to get gender transition surgery.
“Chelsea has received word from the military that they are moving forward with the recommendation for surgery,” said Chase Strangio, a lawyer for the ACLU, according to The New York Times.
Unfortunately for Manning, it seems the government is still intent on making him follow male hair standards.
It’s unclear who will pay for the transition surgery.
“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 said, before going on to complain that the government took “so long.”
“I hope this sets a precedent for the thousands of trans people behind me hoping they will be given the treatment they need,” Manning added.
In July, Manning attempted suicide and failed. He apparently tried to kill himself because the government denied full gender reassignment surgery, even though the Army already approved hormone therapy in 2015 after Manning sued. The Army intends to investigate the suicide attempt, which may result in an additional sentence for Manning and perhaps even solitary confinement.
For Manning’s lawyer, the suicide attempt was driven by a sense of hopeless that Manning would never be allowed to transition.
The Tuesday announcement makes Manning the first U.S. prison inmate to undergo gender reassignment surgery. He is currently sitting in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., serving a 35-year sentence after being sentenced in 2013 for leaking more than 700,000 files to WikiLeaks.
After Manning was convicted of espionage, he announced he was now a woman.
He will be eligible for parole in approximately six years.
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