Bradley Manning exiting trial on Aug. 20, left, and dressed as a woman in a 2010 photograph.L. to R.: Mark Wilson/Getty Images; Reuters
Bradley Manning announced Thursday the desire to live as a woman and asked to be referred to by the name Chelsea, according to a statementread by the soldier's lawyer on the "Today" show. The 25-year-old, who was convicted in July of leaking classified military documents to the WikiLeaks website, also wants to start receiving hormone therapy, though it is unclear whether the military prison where Manning will be held will allow it.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday, but is eligible for parole. She -- the pronoun Manning now prefers -- arrived at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Thursday.
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In the statement, Manning described a longheld wish to live as a female.
"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," Manning wrote. "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 look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back," Manning wrote, saying, however, that supporters should address their letters sent to the prison to "Bradley Manning."
A spokesperson for Fort Leavenworth told Al Jazeera that soldiers held at the military prison there are "treated equally regardless of race, rank, ethnicity or sexual orientation." The spokesperson also said that "all inmates are considered soldiers and treated as such" and have access to psychological and psychiatric care, but not hormone therapy.
"The Army does not provide hormones," the spokesperson said.
Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, addressed the issue on NBC's "Today" show.
"If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so," he said.
There are two prisons at the army base: the maximum security United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB) and the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility, designed for prison terms of five years or less.
Robinson is an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the U.S. military.Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for LOGO
Related: Manning, prison and hormone therapy
Allyson Robinson, a former Army officer who in 2007 began her transition from male to female, spoke with Al Jazeera about the case of Chelsea E. Manning, the Army private sentenced to 35 years in military prison for leaking classified documents.
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