Chelsea Manning May Finally Get Hormone Therapy, In A Game-Changing Move For The Pentagon

The case of national security leaker Private Manning became even more unique on Wednesday, when it was revealed that Chelsea Manning may get hormone treatment at a civilian prison. According to the AP, defense secretary Chuck Hagel approved the army's request last month; now, they're working on a transfer plan with the Federal Bureau of Prisons — although nothing has yet been set in stone.

In a potentially game-changing move, officials told the AP that the Pentagon is trying to move Manning to a civilian prison so that she may finally get her treatment. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved the army's request to “evaluate potential treatment options" for prisoners who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria, the New York Times reports. Now, the Army is pursuing Manning's transfer to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, in a decision that could spell out a radical change in policy for the Pentagon.

Still, nothing is certain. As the Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters Wednesday: "No decision to transfer Private 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."

The move — if it happens — would be a major win for Manning, who's been fighting an exhausting uphill battle since she announced her status as female in August 2013. In spite of having being diagnosed with gender dysphoria multiple times (and by the Army's own specialists, no less!), Manning has been refused hormone treatment, because of a loopy, circular, catch-22: the Defense Department can't provide hormone therapy treatment because transgender people are still banned from serving in the U.S. army. And Manning can't be discharged while she's still serving her prison sentence.

In the meantime, Manning has been serving her 35-year prison sentence at Fort Leavenworth — an all-male facility — since last year, after handing over hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Less than a month ago, she was finally able to get her name legally changed — considering what a struggle that was, her possible transfer could not be a more welcome surprise.