Bradley Manning comes out as transgendered: 'I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.'

Thu. August 22, 2013 8:59 AM by News Staff

army pfc. bradley manning

photo credit // public domain photo

Full statement by Bradley Manning

Army private Bradley Manning intends to spend the rest of his life as a woman and "begin hormone therapy as soon as possible," according to a statement released Thursday by his attorney.

"I am Chelsea Manning. I am female," explained Manning, who asked supporters to refer to him by his new name and the feminine pronoun.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday for leaking classified government documents to WikiLeaks. 

On Thursday, Manning, 25, released the following public statement exclusively to NBC's Today show:

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.

Thank you,

Chelsea E. Manning

Signed Chelsea E. Manning, the letter included a previously leaked photo of Manning dressed as a woman with a blond wig. Manning's struggle with gender identity disorder was key to the defense during his trial.

"If Bradley Manning is transgender and if he struggles over this, we can empathize over that," Brynn Tannehill, a transgender woman and former Lt. Commander in the Navy told the Washington Blade. "But we do not believe it should excuse what he did."

Tannehill, who also serves as spokesperson for the Trans Chapter of SPARTA-A, a group representing mostly active duty LGBT service members, added, "We know many trans military people with highly distinguished careers. So the argument that being transgender made him do this is patently false."

Manning will immediately begin to serve time at Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas. His supporters have asked President Barack Obama to issue a pardon. 

Related: Will Manning case harm effort to lift trans military ban? (via Washington Blade)


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