Bradley Manning: 'I Am Chelsea Manning. I Am Female'

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Bradley Manning: 'I Am Chelsea Manning. I Am Female'
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Bradley Manning: 'I Am Chelsea Manning. I Am Female'

A day after being sentenced to 35 years in prison, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning announced in a statement to "Today" that she identifies as female and wants to be known as Chelsea Manning.

"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," said Manning.

Also read: Bradley Manning's Attorney Asks Obama to Pardon Him

On Tuesday, David Coombs, Manning's attorney, called on President Obama to pardon Manning or commute her sentence to time served. It was unclear whether Manning identifying as female would change the location of her imprisonment.

During his trial, Manning's attorneys presented evidence that their client struggled with gender identity disorder, a strong feeling of being trapped in the body of the opposite gender. They presented evidence of Manning's struggle that included a picture of the private in a blond wig and lipstick (above).

Also read: WikiLeaks Mole Bradley Manning Convicted of Espionage, Acquitted of Aiding the Enemy

Manning had argued in court that he was trying to inform the public about military and government wrongdoing when he supplied WikiLeaks with more than 700,000 pages of classified information in 2010, and did not intend to aid the enemy.

Here is the full text of the letter:

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

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