Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning has been assured she will receive gender reassignment surgery while in prison, according to her lawyers.
Manning was convicted in a massive leak of national security documents that helped leaker website WikiLeaks to rise to prominence globally. The Army Pvt. is currently serving a 35-year sentence at the Army’s Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas prison. She will be eligible for parole in approximately six years.
Chelsea Manning Wins After Hunger Strike
The assurances came after Manning went on hunger strike due to not having received assurances that the surgery will take place. Chase Strangio, her lawyer and an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, said that Manning’s doctors recommended she have the surgery as far back as April of this year.
As of yet it is unknown when the surgery will occur. Manning is already on hormones for her “transition,” which she sued for last year.
The Pentagon only recently decided to allow transgender troops to serve in the military, let alone receive surgery and hormone support. It is unknown how the surgery’s long recovery time will affect readiness in the Army.
RAND Corporation estimates there are between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender soldiers in the active duty component of the military, which has a total force of around 1.3 million. Of that number, the research organization believes that between 30 and 140 would actually go through with the surgery. The annual cost to the Army would be between $2.4 million and $8.4 million per year.
Treatment costs as much as $50,000 per service member. It involves counseling, hormone therapy, and finally gender reassignment surgery if the troop feels like that is the final step to take. A military doctor must determine that the gender reassignment surgery, which permanently changes the gentialia of the patient, is medically necessary.
Chelsea Manning was convicted of many offenses, including aiding the enemy, which resulted in dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances in 2013.