Coming off the news that Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in military prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, the 25-year-old Army private made another big reveal. Manning’s attorney David Coombs came on “Today” with a statement announcing Manning is transgender and would like to begin getting hormone therapy to fully transition into the woman she wants to be.
“As I transition into this next stage of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am female. Given the way 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,” reads the statement. “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.”
Coombs says he expects Manning to be pardoned by President Obama during the case’s planned appeal, and also says he hopes Fort Leavenworth provides Manning with the hormone therapy she needs. If not, he says, he is prepared to fight to get Manning that treatment.
The U.S. Army released its own statement in response to Manning’s decision to come out as transgender.
“Inmates at the United States Disciplinary Barracks and Joint Correctional Facility are treated equally regardless of race, rank, ethnicity or sexual orientation,” reads the statement, which was given to NBC News. “All inmates are considered soldiers and are treated as such with access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and behavioral science noncommissioned officers with experience in addressing the needs of military personnel in pre- and post-trial confinement.”
It continues, “The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder. The USDB has implemented risk assessment protocols and safety procedures to address high risk factors identified with the Prison Rape Elimination Act.”