Convicted soldier Bradley Manning has revealed that he wants to live as a woman named Chelsea and intends to undergo hormone therapy to begin his transition to a female.
Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday for leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, made the shock announcement through his attorney on the Today show on Thursday.
“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,” Bradley Manning wrote in the statement entitled, The Next Stage of My Life.
“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.”
Bradley Manning added that he now wishes to be referred to as Chelsea and as a “she” rather than a “he”.
On Thursday, Bradley Manning’s lawyer David Coombs denied the former intelligence analyst was making this announcement for the attention or because she was a narcissist.
“Chelsea didn’t want to have this be something that overshadowed the case,” he explained.
David Coombs added that Fort Leavenworth, where Bradley Manning is serving her term, does not provide hormone therapy for soldiers, but that he hoped it would “do the right thing” and provide it.
“If not, I am going to everything in my power to make sure everything is done to force them,” he said.
During the 12-week court case, an image that was released by the Army emerged showing Bradley Manning wearing a blonde wig and makeup in a photograph she had taken herself.
“She never really wanted this to be public,” David Coombs added of Bradley Manning’s identity.
“Now that it is, unfortunately, you have to deal with it in a public manner.”
Bradley Manning’s lawyers had argued throughout the case that he was under incredible stress at the time of the leaks due to his struggles with gender identity disorder in the masculine environment.
On Wednesday, Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking an unprecedented volume of classified documents to WikiLeaks.
The 25-year-old first class Army private appeared not to show any emotion when his long-awaited fate was read out, though spectators gasped inside the military courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland.
Because of the 1,294 days he has already spent in custody, Bradley Manning will immediately shave three and a half years off his 35-year term.
Bradley Manning is eligible for parole after serving at least one-third of the sentence, which means he could be free in eight years, when he’s 33 or 34 years old.
He also learned he will be reduced in grade to the rank of private E1, dishonorably discharged from the military and forfeit all pay and allowances.
In a press conference following the hearing defense attorney David Coombs said he was saddened by the sentence, adding that it didn’t represent the harm his client had caused.
David Coombs said: “When I heard the sentence I thought to myself <<I have represented hundreds of clients some of them have committed murders and some have molested children and those clients received less time than private Manning>>.”
He added that he was surprised by the decision to dishonorably discharge Bradley Manning from the military, adding: “Bradley Manning is a man of honor.”