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Chelsea Manning will undergo gender transition surgery

The former US soldier gets the green light to go ahead with her long-desired change, putting an end to her hunger strike

Following her hunger strike, Chelsea Manning, the US soldier imprisoned for leaking information to Wikileaks, has finally received approval for a gender transition operation.

The 28-year-old started her 5-day hunger strike on Friday, claiming she had been treated badly by the facility and denied treatment for gender dysmorphia. She had previously attempted suicide back in July. 

In a statement released yesterday, the former US soldier, who's serving a 35-year sentence in an all-male jail for leaking US documents, expressed her relief in hearing the news. She said: “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.”

“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 added. “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.”

She will be treated under the American military's new transgender policy, which also allows army members to transition while serving, while also introducing aims to introduce better medical care and support.

Manning's attorney, Chase Strangio, said: “It is a relief to hear that the government has finally agreed to move forward with providing Chelsea with the health care that she is legally entitled to and is medically needed. We hope that they will act to provide this care without delay in order to ensure that her suffering does not continue.”

Army officials however have been unable to speak on the matter.

Although the treatment has been approved by officials, representatives of Manning have said that she may still face solitary confinement following her previous suicide attempt. A hearing is still scheduled for September 20.