Bradley Manning, the famous wistleblower who handed thousands of hundreds of top secret document to WikiLeaks, said on Thursday that she is female and wants to live as a woman under name Chelsea.
“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, 25, said in the statement read on NBC News’ “Today” show.
“Given the way that I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible,” the wistleblower added. “I also request that starting today you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.”
Manning’s attorney David Coombs, who was also invited to take part in the the program, said that he expected Manning to get a pardon from President Barack Obama.
When asked whether Manning wanted to be sent to a women’s prison, Coombs said no.
“I think the ultimate goal is to be comfortable in her skin and to be the person that she’s never had an opportunity to be,” he said.
The lawyer went on, adding that his client initially had not wanted his sexual identity topic to become public, but they did after his arrest in 2010, Coombs said.
“Now that it is (public), unfortunately you have to deal with it in a public manner,” he said.
A psychiatrist, Navy Reserve Captain David Moulton, who testified during the proceedings, confirmed that Manning suffered from gender dysphoria, or wanting to be the opposite sex, alongside with narcissism and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Geoffrey Corn, a military law expert at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, called the soldier’s bid for hormone treatment the first case of that kind in the army.
Gay members were barred from serving until the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed two years ago, reports Chicago Tribune.
“We don’t have any precedent for the application of military medical care for elective gender reassignment therapy,” he said.
Moreover, Corn expressed his scepticism regarding the possibility of Manning’s receiving of approval for hormone therapy as federal courts have traditionally given the military deference for its life and activities.
“I don’t see it happening,” he said.
The news comes a day after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison for leaking thousands of sensitive government documents reflecting the real state of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The man will serve his prison sentence at the military’s detention facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan, with the right of the first parole review after serving 10 years of his sentence.
According to ABC News, the attorney believes that his client could be eligible for parole after seven years because of the 1,294 days credited by the judge toward his sentence.
Manning has spent 1,182 days in jail before the judges delievered their final verdict on Wednesday. The leaker was also credited with 112 days for the treatment he received at the Marine brig in Quantico, Va.