WASHINGTON — WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning intends to begin hormone therapy for gender reassignment and live the rest of his life as a woman, according to a statement from him read on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday.
Manning wants to be referred to as Chelsea — not Bradley — according to the statement.
Manning’s announcement comes a day after a military judge sentenced him to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of U.S. military and diplomatic documents.
Manning, 25, was convicted in July of stealing 750,000 pages of classified documents and videos and disseminating them to WikiLeaks, the online anti-secrecy group. Lind also reduced his rank from private first class to private, ordered him to forfeit pay and benefits and be dishonorably discharged.
Here is the text of Manning’s letter:
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 the 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 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.
Chelsea E. Manning.