Bradley Manning — who was recently convicted of espionage and theft for leaking classified government documents — formally announced today he considers himself a woman and goes by the name Chelsea.
Saying he wants to begin hormone therapy “as soon as possible” to transition to a woman, the 25-year-old former Army private released a statement to NBC‘s (CMCSA) Today show.
As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for espionage and various other charges for leaking more than 700,000 documents to the WikiLeaks in 2010.
It was previously know that Manning is transgendered, but this is the first time he has made such an announcement.
From the Today report:
During his trial, Manning’s defense team suggested his struggles with gender identity as a gay soldier were a factor in his decision to leak. His attorneys presented an email to a former supervisor from April 2010 in which he said he was transgender and joined the Army to “get rid of it.” The email, which had the subject line “My Problem,” also included a photo of Manning in which he is wearing a blonde wig and lipstick.