Bradley Manning wants to live as a woman called Chelsea and begin hormone treatment as soon as possible.
Manning -now female Chelsea Manning as he wants to be, announced this a day after being sentenced to 35 years in prison for giving US government secrets to WikiLeaks.
“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,” Manning said in the statement read by anchorwoman Savannah Guthrie on NBC News’ “Today” show.
During the sentencing phase of Manning’s court-martial for leaking more than 700,000 secret documents, defense attorneys pointed out that the soldier suffered from gender identity disorder.
A psychologist testified Manning had a difficult time adjusting to the “hypermasculine environment” of a combat zone.
Manning will likely serve the sentence at Fort Leavenworth, the only military prison for service members sentenced to 10 or more years, a Military District of Washington spokesperson told The Associated Press.
In the U.S. prison system, transgender prisoners who have not had genital surgery are generally assigned to live with their birth-gender peers, but the military policy is unclear.
Manning was a whistleblower or a traitor for giving more than 700,000 classified military and diplomatic documents, plus battlefield footage, to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. By volume alone, it was the biggest leak of classified material in U.S. history, bigger even than the Pentagon Papers a generation ago.
Manning was found guilty last month of 20 crimes, including six violations of the Espionage Act, but was acquitted of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, which carried a potential sentence of life in prison without parole.