WikiLeaker Manning Announces She Wants to Live as a Woman

One day after being sentenced, convicted WikiLeaker Bradley Manning had some big news to share.

In a statement written to NBC's Today show, Manning announced to the public that she plans on living the rest of her life as a woman named Chelsea:

I want everyone to know the real me. 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 also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.

The statement was signed, "Chelsea E. Manning." The decision by Manning to undergo hormone therapy and transition to living as a woman comes after revelations about her issues with gender identification during her sentencing hearing.

A therapist who had treated Manning during her deployment testified that the soldier struggled with gender identity issues that caused a high level of mental and emotional stress, particularly because of the military's harsh views towards homosexuality at the time. While Don't Ask Don't Tell policy has since been overturned, it is still illegal to be transgender in the army.

During her sentencing trial, Manning took the stand to offer an apology to those who were hurt by her actions and asked the judge to give her a sentence that would allow her enough time to rebuild her life and mend relationships upon her release.

On Wednesday, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of confidential government documents to WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. She will likely serve time at Fort Leavenworth. Manning's attorney said that she hoped the facility would "do the right thing" and allow its soon-to-be inmate to undergo hormone therapy while incarcerated.

Earlier this week, a Fort Leavenworth spokeswoman said that the facility does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for those coping with gender identity issues. The facility said that it does provide psychiatric care.