NEW YORK -- Bradley Manning says he plans to live as a woman and begin hormone therapy, a day after the soldier was sentenced to 35 years in prison for sending classified information to WikiLeaks.
In a written statement provided to NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday morning, Manning said he planned to live as a woman named Chelsea.
A military judge announced the sentence in Manning’s court-martial on Wednesday. Manning’s struggle with gender identity disorder—his sense that he was a man trapped in a woman’s body—was a key part of his defense.
Attorneys had presented evidence of Manning’s struggle with gender identity, including a photo of the soldier in a blond wig and lipstick that he sent to a therapist.
Here's the letter Manning's attorney provided to Today:
Subject: The Next Stage of My Life
I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund, or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.
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.
Chelsea E. Manning