'I am Chelsea. I am female': Soldier tried as Bradley Manning wants to live as a woman'
Soldier who was sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified files identifies as female and wants to be called Chelsea
Bradley Manning is a hero and a patriot who did his country a service by passing secret cables to Wikileaks to his legion of supporters – some of whom even made the pilgrimage to his court martial at Fort Meade in Maryland to witness his trial. Nothing the US government said would persuade them to see the former US army privately differently.
Differently, however, is how Manning asked to be viewed today with a statement issued to NBC news that was both shocking and, at the same time, not entirely out of the blue. Manning henceforth would like to be addressed not as Bradley but as Chelsea, and referred by everyone to as “she” and no longer “he”.
One day after she was sentenced by Judge Denise Lind to 35 years in confinement for perpetrating the largest leak of classified materials in US history after her deployment in 2009 to Baghdad as an intelligence analyst, she declared her decision to switch gender and asked the Army to help her achieve it. “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,” Manning, 25, said in the statement read out to TV viewers across the nation.
She went on: “Given the way I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I also request that starting today you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.”
The request is at the very least unusual and not likely to be embraced by her hosts at the US Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she will serve out her sentence. In a terse statement, a military spokesperson said helping their ward become a woman was off the table. “The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery,” she said.
Bradley Manning, shown dressed as a female in a handout from the US army, now wishes to be known as a woman called Chelsea
Even before the court martial began in June, Manning, 25, who has American-British dual nationality, had often been described as gay in media reports. However, her much broader issues with sexuality and gender were thrust to centre-stage by defence lawyer David Coombs in the sentencing phase of the trial, which began earlier this month following her conviction of 20 out of 22 charges filed against her by prosecutors, including charges of espionage.
How much bearing these struggles may finally have had on Judge Lind – prosecutors had asked to impose a far harsher prison sentence of 60 years – remains unclear. But Mr Coombs had argued the emotional turmoil suffered by his client had been ignored or swept under the rug by the Army. The court saw a picture of Manning in a woman’s wig and make-up and an email she had written to a superior pleading for help with his gender confusion.
On NBC’s Today Show, Mr Coombs said Manning was not seeking sex-change surgery but hormone therapy. He said: “I’m hoping Fort Leavenworth will do the right thing and provide that. If it does not, then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so.” He also denied Manning wanted to be assigned to an all-female jail.
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Kate Moss: Previously unpublished nude photo revealed by Mert and Marcus
- 3 Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
- 4 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 5 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
Becky Watts: Four appear in court charged with hiding body parts after teenager's death
Isis 'bulldozes' Nimrud: UNESCO condemns destruction of ancient Assyrian site as a 'war crime'
Professor Brian Cox brands astrology-believing Tory MP David Tredinnick an 'outlier on the spectrum of reason'
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...
£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...