PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. – The U.S. Army has announced it has reached a compromise with former Pfc. Chelsea (previously Bradley) Manning, the imprisoned soldier at the center of a landmark struggle to force the Army to pay for her hormone therapy for transition to a woman.
Following several weeks of negotiating with Manning's attorney, the Army and Manning both agreed instead to transfer her to the Marine Recruit Depot at Parris Island. Army spokesmen have said that although the move "cannot give Private Manning the complete gender transition she seeks, we hope Marine Recruit Training will at least give her the full experience of being treated like a woman."
While the commandant of the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks where Manning is currently imprisoned agreed in February to pay for Manning's hormonal treatment, recent budget cuts have forced the Army to seek out a more cost-effective solution.
Despite Manning's fears that she had become "a joke" to Army leaders, Secretary of the Army John McHugh has insisted that Manning's treatment was "near the top of the Army's priority list, somewhere between dealing with Yemen's civil war and countering a Russian invasion of Estonia."
Manning, described alternately as the poster boy or poster girl for transgendered soldiers, security violators, and Lady Gaga fans, has repeatedly described herself as a woman trapped in a man's body. Like many patriotic Americans suffering from gender identity disorder, she joined the Army because, apparently, the Navy SEALS were already full.
Sadly, she found that life in the Army didn't give her the full feminine experience she desired, even after a posting to the Army's main center for transgendered soldiers at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
Although Manning initially had reservations about joining what she called "America's leading heteronormative organization," first reports out of Parris Island suggest the Marines gave Manning exactly what she wanted.
"I'm so pleased that the Marines aren't as hung up on fixed gender stereotypes as the Army," a smiling Manning told reporters. "All the Drill Instructors here respect my choice in sexual identity, whether they're calling me a 'pussy', a 'twat', or even just a 'little bitch.'"
Manning added that the other Marine Recruits were also surprisingly open-minded to having a non-cisgendered individual in their unit, and recognized her assertiveness as a proud transgender woman with the nickname "Tough Titties."
She said they even encouraged her to skip physical training and drill to see if the corpsman could wash the sand out of her vagina.
Although the Marines were unable for legal reasons to transfer Manning to Parris Island's all-female Fourth Battalion, her Drill Instructors have nevertheless tried to empower her by making her constantly hold a sign that read "Proud Fourth Battalion Recruit."
After Manning was unable to complete three pull-ups at the initial Physical Fitness Test, her Drill Instructor also ordered her to always pee sitting down followed by a directive to use the female bathroom whenever possible.
However, Manning said she had experienced at least one regretful instance of microaggression. After falling out of a formation run down Shanghai Street, Manning was apparently verbally abused by a female recruit from Fourth Battalion, who urged her to "reach down a grab a pair," adding, "You're making the rest of us look bad you stupid hag."
Manning's family is reportedly extremely excited by the transfer, and have privately said they hope her time in the Marines will finally make a man out of her.