Army Private Bradley Manning, a day after being sentenced 35 years in military prison for leaking classified documents, said in a statement read on “Today” that he intends to live out the rest of his life as a woman.
“I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female,” Manning said in the statement read on “Today” on Thursday. “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.”
Manning, 25, was found guilty of 20 charges ranging from espionage to theft for leaking some 700,000 documents to Wikileaks during a stint working in Iraq in 2010.
“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),” he went on. “I look forward to receiving letters from supports and having the opportunity to write back.”
During the trial, defense attorneys for Manning presented his struggles with gender identity as a gay soldier might have been a factor in his decision to leak classified documents. In an email presented during the trial from Manning to a former supervisor in April 2010, Manning said he was transgender and that he joined the army to “get rid of it.” In the email, Manning also included a photo of himself wearing a blonde wig and lipstick.