The US military is reportedly beginning the initial sex change hormone-replacement therapy for WikiLeaks convict Chelsea Manning.
Treatment for Pte First Class Manning, 26, formerly known as Bradley, is reported to be going ahead after the bureau of prisons rejected the Army's request to transfer her from a military facility to a normal prison, it was revealed on Friday.
According to Defence secretary Chuck Hagel has approved gender treatment for Manning, who has been diagnosed by military doctors with gender dysphoria – the sense of one's gender being at odds with the sexual organs they were born with. Manning has been living as a trans-woman.
Manning is currently serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified files to whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The files, which included a video depicting an American military helicopter firing on journalists in Baghdad, make up the largest set of classified documents ever leaked to the public.
Following her conviction in July 2013, on 20 charges in connection with the leaked documents, Manning requested treatment including hormone therapy, and to be allowed to live as a woman.
One of her legal team threatened, in May, to sue the Army if Manning was not given sex change therapy in military prison.
Hagel said today that the Army's policy on transgender service members should be "continuously reviewed" but has not revealed whether he believes the policy should be overturned.
A study by the Palm Center estimates there are 15,000 transgender men and women in the US military and 130,000 veterans.