WASHINGTON - Chelsea Manning, the US soldier serving a 35-year prison sentence for a massive document leak, should be addressed in gender-neutral or feminine terms in court documents as she transitions into a woman, judges said.
The move comes a month after the US Army approved hormone therapy for Manning's gender "reassignment" -- in a first for the American military.
"All future formal papers filed before this court and all future orders and decisions issued by this court shall either be neutral, eg Private First Class Manning or appellant, or employ a feminine pronoun" said a court order Wednesday.
However "in respect to historic fact," the court will retain masculine wordage used in previous decisions, including Manning's conviction.
Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, is incarcerated in Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
"The court rightly recognised that dignifying Chelsea's womanhood is not the trivial matter that the government attempted to frame it as," said Chase Strangio, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which was involved in Manning's defence.
Manning, 27, had already secured permission last year to be known under the name "Chelsea" instead of "Bradley."
The former intelligence analyst also had been allowed to wear women's underwear following a decision last year, and to undergo psychotherapy.
Manning was convicted in August 2013 of espionage and other offences after admitting to handing over more than 700,000 classified documents to the WikiLeaks website while stationed in Iraq.