Wikeleaks leaker Bradley Manning, the US soldier jailed for 35 years for the largest intelligence leak in US history, has released a statement in which he says he wants to live as a woman called Chelsea.
A statement from Manning, read on NBC News’s ‘Today’ programme, said that as he makes the “transition” into the next phase of his life, he wants “everyone to know the real me.”
“I am Chelsea Manning,” the statement reads. “I am 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.”
Manning, 25, was sentenced on Wednesday to 35 years in a military prison for turning over classified files to WikiLeaks.
During Manning’s trial, his defence team argued that the army missed multiple warning signs he was struggling with gender identity issues. The court heard how he sent his superiors an anguished email where he explained he thought should be a woman and attached a photograph of himself as his female alter-ego “Breanna”, wearing make-up and a blonde wig.
To paraphrase The Duke of Wellington, “I don’t know what he will do to his fellow inmates but he scares the shit out of me.
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