Chelsea Manning has ended her hunger strike after being told by the government that she will receive gender confirmation surgery.
ACLU attorney Chase Strangio told Buzzfeed that Manning was informed on Tuesday that the military made a determination that the Department of Defense’s instruction for “In-Service Transition” applies to her. Additionally, according to Strangio, Manning was shown a treatment plan that included information about surgery and the medical team necessary to move forward with that surgery.
— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) September 13, 2016
“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,” Chelsea Manning said in a statement provided by her lawyers.
“But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long. Also, why were such drastic measures needed? The surgery was recommended back in April 2016. The recommendations for my hair length were back in 2014,” Manning continued in the statement. “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.”
Manning will still have to face charges after her suicide attempt as the military considers her their property.
Strangio added, however, that Manning was told that she must continue to keep her hair short, as required under male grooming standards, until she receives the surgery.
A spokesman for the defense department told Reuters it would not comment on the matter in order to protect patient confidentiality.