Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier recently convicted of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, has released a statement making public his intention to become a woman. The soldier, who was sentenced to a 35 year prison sentence, used the gender identity disorder as a mitigating argument in his trial.
A statement from Manning read, “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.”
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This statement was first reported by NBC news. According to Manning’s lawyer, the soldier is seeking hormone therapy rather than a sex change operation.
“I also request that starting today you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun,” continued the statement from Manning. The Army told Reuters that it does not provide sex change surgery or hormone treatments to its personnel. Manning’s lawyer said he would do everything in his power to ensure the soldier will have access to the treatments he is looking for.
The revelation adds a soap opera level of scandal to an already publicity soaked court case. Manning’s lawyer says that the soldier will seek a full pardon from President Barack Obama for his crimes. The release of the statement from Manning publicly confirming his gender identity crisis may stoke some public support for that pardon, but it’s difficult to predict whether that will sway the President.
“I think the ultimate goal is to be comfortable in her skin and to be the person that she’s never had an opportunity to be,” said Manning’s lawyer about the soldier’s predicament.
Bradley Manning was convicted in July of more than 20 charges resulting in a thirty-five year prison sentence. Manning worked as an intelligence analyst in the United States Army up until his 2010 arrest. Earlier this week, Manning’s lawyer released a picture of the soldier dressed as a woman in order to bring attention to the gender identity disorder.
In the course of the Wikileaks case, the defense team argued that Manning was mentally distressed by the gender identity disorder, and superiors ignored the warning signs. A psychiatrist who testified in the trial added that Manning suffered from gender dysphoria, narcissism and obsessive-compulsive disorder.