FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — Three years after Bradley Manning rocked the Pentagon by leaking a mountain of secrets, the soldier created a whole new set of potential complications for the military on Thursday when he announced he intends to live as a woman named Chelsea and undergo hormone treatment.
Manning’s gender-identity struggle – his sense that he is a woman trapped in a man’s body – was brought up in his defense at his court-martial, and a photo of him in a blond wig and lipstick was submitted as evidence.
But the latest twist, announced the morning after Manning was sentenced to 35 years behind bars, surprised many and confronted the Pentagon with questions about where and how he is to be imprisoned.
The former Army intelligence analyst disclosed the decision in a statement provided to NBC’s “Today” show.
“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,” the statement read.
The statement asked people to use the feminine pronoun when referring to Manning. It was signed “Chelsea E. Manning.”
Manning wants to live as a woman