chelsea manning

Story highlights

"This is an important first step in Chelsea's treatment regimen," her legal counsel says

Manning, whose former first name was Bradley, had filed a lawsuit over the issue

But she's still not allowed to grow her hair like other female prisoners, the ACLU says

CNN  — 

Imprisoned soldier Chelsea Manning can now communicate with the world – in 140 characters or less.

In a series of tweets, the prisoner formerly known as Bradley Manning said she will be using a voice phone to dictate her tweets to communications firm Fitzgibbon Media, which will post them on her behalf.

The Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas, where she is serving her sentence, has authorized hormone therapy for her treatment.

The memo cited a recommendation that the therapy was “medically appropriate and necessary.”

The news was welcomed by Manning’s legal counsel in the lawsuit.

“We are thrilled for Chelsea that the government has finally agreed to initiate hormone therapy as part of her treatment plan,” said Chase Strangio, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. “This is an important first step in Chelsea’s treatment regimen and one that is in line with the recommendations of all of her doctors and the basic requirements of the Eighth Amendment.”

Not allowed to grow hair

But Strangio said that the approval of the therapy was only a partial victory.

“The military continues to refuse to let Chelsea grow her hair like other female prisoners, a critical part of her treatment plan that has been recognized by her doctors,” he said.

Also, the delay in getting the hormone treatment “came with a significant cost to Chelsea and her mental health,” Strangio said.

At the time of her 2013 announcement that she planned to live as a woman, Manning asked for support and said she wanted to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.

Manning said she suffers from gender dysphoria. Her lawyers describe it as “the medical diagnosis given to individuals whose gender identity – their innate sense of being male or female – differs from the sex they were assigned at birth, causing clinically significant distress.”

Last year, a Kansas judge granted her request to be formally known as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

The former Army intelligence analyst was convicted of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks in what has been described as the largest leak of classified material in U.S. history.

CNN’s Ross Levitt contributed to this report.