WASHINGTON, D.C.: The American soldier sentenced to 35 years in jail for passing secret documents to WikiLeaks asked to be considered a woman on Thursday (Friday in Manila) and requested sex change therapy.
“I am Chelsea Manning, I am a female,” the private previously known as Bradley Manning said, in a statement passed to defense lawyers and read out on NBC television.
“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” the 25-year-old said, one day after being sentenced to decades of incarceration in military prison.
“Given the way I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible,” the statement said.
“I also request that starting today you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.”
When asked if Manning would sue to force the government to provide hormone therapy and possibly gender reassignment surgery, defense lawyer David Coombs used the female pronoun when answering the question, a switch from his use of “he” when discussing Manning’s trial.
“I don’t know about the sex reassignment surgery . . . Chelsea hasn’t indicated that that would be her desire, but as far as the hormone therapy, yes.”
“I’m hoping Fort Leavenworth would do the right thing and provide that,” he said.
A United States (US) military spokesman referred to Manning using the feminine pronoun, but said Fort Leavenworth military prison does not provide inmates with sex change treatment.
“We are aware that counsel representing the soldier convicted under the name Bradley Manning conveys that his client now openly identifies as female,” said Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale. “There is no mechanism in place for the US military to provide hormone therapy or gender-reassignment surgery for her.”