Manning's attorney, David Coombs, told NBC's Today show that he wished to be called Chelsea Manning and addressed with the female pronoun. Coombs said Manning was seeking hormone therapy and not a sex-change operation.
"I'm hoping that Fort Leavenworth will do the right thing and provide that," Coombs told the program. "If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so."
Legal experts said they did not know of a prior case of sex reassignment treatment in the military justice system, several inmates in the federal prison system have undergone such care, according to Robin Maril, legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign.
In fact, a federal judge ordered the Massachusetts officials to pay for a convict's sex-change operation in 2012. The case is under appeal.
Prior to 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons only allowed prisoners who had already begun sexual reassignment therapy – which consists of hormone treatments and possibly surgery – if it had already begun before their prison sentence. But that policy changed and now federal prisoners are allowed to start treatment after going to jail, Maril said.