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Bradley Manning: 'I am a woman'

By Brett Wilkins     Aug 22, 2013 in Politics
Bradley Manning, the US Army whistleblower sentenced yesterday to 35 years in prison for committing the largest-ever leak of classified documents in the nation's history, has declared that from now on he wants to live as a woman.
Manning, 25, announced his decision via a statement aired on NBC's "Today" show on Thursday. It read, in part:
"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. 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."
The Washington Post reports a spokesman at Fort Leavenworth, the military prison where Manning will probably serve out her sentence, said the United States Disciplinary Barracks "does not offer sex reassignment or hormone therapy for the inmates housed at the facility."
The spokesman also said he did not know whether Manning, who will have access to mental health counseling and psychiatric treatment, would be locked up in general population or subject to some form of segregation.
Manning's struggle with gender identity came into play during her court martial, during which her defense suggested that the issue influenced the former intelligence analyst's decision to leak hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents to the whistleblower website Wikileaks. The Army released a photo of Manning dressed in a woman's wig and makeup, part of a letter titled "My Problem" she sent to a superior officer in 2010. In the letter, Manning details her struggle with gender identity and expressed hope that being in the Army would "get rid of it."
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