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Bradley Manning wants to live as a woman named Chelsea

By David Dishneau & Pauline Jelinek

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:00 p.m. HST, Aug 22, 2013

FORT MEADE, Md. >> Three years after rocking the Pentagon by leaking a mountain of secrets, Bradley Manning created a whole new set of potential complications for the military today by asking to be known as a woman named Chelsea and to undergo hormone treatment.

Manning’s gender-identity struggle — a sense of being a woman trapped in a man’s body — was brought up by the defense at the court-martial, and a photo of the soldier in a blond wig and lipstick was submitted as evidence.

But the latest twist, announced the morning after Manning was sentenced to 35 years behind bars, surprised many and confronted the Pentagon with questions about where and how the Army private is to be imprisoned.

The former Army intelligence analyst disclosed the decision in a statement provided to NBC’s “Today” show.

“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. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible,” the statement read.

The statement asked people to use the feminine pronoun when referring to Manning. It was signed “Chelsea E. Manning” and included a handwritten signature.

The soldier’s attorney, David Coombs, told “Today” he hopes officials at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., accommodate Manning’s request for hormone treatment, which typically involves high doses of estrogen to promote breast development and other female characteristics.

However, George Wright, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said the Army does not provide such treatment or sex-reassignment surgery. He said soldiers behind bars are given access to psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

A lawsuit could be in the offing. Coombs said he will do “everything in my power” to make sure Manning gets his way. And the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign and other advocates for gays, bisexuals and transgender people said Manning deserves the treatment.

“In the United States, it is illegal to deny health care to prisoners. That is fairly settled law,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Now the Army can claim this isn’t health care, but they have the weight of the medical profession and science against them.”

With Manning in custody and unavailable to comment, the AP is seeking additional information about the statement from Coombs, who did not immediately respond to email and telephone messages. For the time being, AP stories will use gender neutral references to Manning and provide the pertinent background on the transgender issue.

A Federal Bureau of Prisons policy implemented last year requires federal prisons to develop treatment plans, including hormone treatment if necessary, for inmates diagnosed with gender-identity disorder. But the bureau oversees only civilian prisons.

Manning’s case appeared to be the first time the therapy had come up for a military prisoner.

Manning, 25, was convicted of Espionage Act violations and other crimes for turning more than 700,000 classified military and diplomatic documents over to the secrets-spilling website WikiLeaks. Coombs said the soldier could be paroled from prison in as little as seven years.

After sentencing, Manning was returned today to Fort Leavenworth.

Fort Leavenworth is an all-male prison. But the staff has some leeway to separate soldiers from the other inmates based on the risk to themselves and others, prison spokesman George Marcec said.

Manning would not be allowed to wear a wig or bra, and would have to meet the military standard for hair, Marcec said. In addition, Marcec said if Manning wants to go by Chelsea in the prison, a name change would have to be approved in court and then a petition submitted with the Army to change its records.

Advocates said gays and transgender people are more susceptible to sexual assault and other violence in prison.

“She most likely will need to be placed with a female prison population because she identifies as female,” said Jeffrey Parsons, a psychology professor at Hunter College in New York.

Under a special agreement, the Army sends its female prisoners to a Navy women’s jail in Miramar, Calif. It also has an agreement under which it can send soldiers to federal civilian prisons.

Greg Rinckey, a former Army prosecutor and now a lawyer in Albany, N.Y., said Manning’s statement could be a ploy to get transferred to a civilian prison.

“He might be angling to go there because he believes life at a federal prison could be easier than life at the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth,” Rinckey said.

He also said the military is adamant about not providing hormone treatment: “You enlisted as a male, you’re a male, you’re going to be incarcerated as a male.”

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EwaWarrior wrote:
Well, at least Manning had the cajones to face trial while Eric Snowden is a big panty hiding in Russia. Just so long as we taxpayers don't have to foot the bill, Manning can call himself whatever he wants.
on August 22,2013 | 06:18AM
allie wrote:
true..Mannign at least realizes the damage he did and the lives he caused to be lost. The sex change deal is an odd but unrelated story.
on August 22,2013 | 07:35AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
He had the cojones, but apparently didn't want them.


Thank you, folks! Be sure to tip your waitress!
on August 22,2013 | 09:35AM
Mei mei wrote:
ohh dear.. lost my tea there... LOL!
on August 22,2013 | 10:37AM
lee1957 wrote:
Manning didn't have a choice, he was caught.
on August 22,2013 | 11:52AM
8082062424 wrote:
so this twisted person want special treatment. and want the government to pay for it
on August 22,2013 | 06:18AM
Grimbold wrote:
808, you mean we have to pay for his hormone treatment? What is this world coming to? A nuthouse it seems.
on August 22,2013 | 06:28AM
8082062424 wrote:
yes to both. they claim they want equal treatment but now it seems they want special treatment. some world we live in
on August 22,2013 | 07:20AM
Grimbold wrote:
Ha Ha Ha Miss Manning. Hormon treatment at our expense? Are you insane?
on August 22,2013 | 06:22AM
sayer wrote:
And this is news because....?
on August 22,2013 | 06:39AM
realist3463 wrote:
Not so strange to me. I guess if I were going to jail for 35 years, I would want to live in the woman's wing too. Want to bet some ACLU civil rights group will take the government to court and make us pay for this "treatment". This is another travesty foisted on the taxpayer. When will it end?
on August 22,2013 | 06:40AM
primo1 wrote:
Agreed. Not a bad strategy if he gets his way...terrible strategy if he doesn't.
on August 22,2013 | 02:30PM
pgkemp wrote:
what bs..........
on August 22,2013 | 06:52AM
loquaciousone wrote:
He/she should have no problems finding "boy"friends where he's going.
on August 22,2013 | 06:55AM
retire wrote:
He will be very popular in prison....
on August 22,2013 | 06:59AM
Mythman wrote:
on August 22,2013 | 02:27PM
pcman wrote:
I think the increase in security leaks has been facilitated by the president and vice president who themselves have leaked information on US military operations tactics, techniques and procedures. This is the defense that should have been used in Manning's trial, but it would have been too politically incorrect. Too bad for Manning. Becoming Chelsea at this point will prepare him well for prison life. If he thinks he can get out of going to the men's side of the prison, and go to the women's side instead, good luck. Either way, he will surely enjoy his femininity while in prison. If he thinks the government will pay for his sex change in prison, good luck. He got off easily. His lawyers will get rich on defending this traitor as long as they can keep him jn prison.
on August 22,2013 | 07:09AM
ceria wrote:
Don't make excuses for Manning by using the Pres. & VP. Manning knew what he was doing and he set a precedence.....now we have Snowden. The media leaks more stuff before the White House does! Some people consider Manning and Snowden to be "whistle blowers"......I say they're traitors.
on August 22,2013 | 07:34AM
NuuanuMama wrote:
Just release Manning on parole and he can pay for his own hormone treatments. I doubt that she is a threat to anybody or national security at this point.
on August 22,2013 | 07:14AM
loquaciousone wrote:
From your statement, I can tell you've never served in a war zone. Revealing secrets that can endanger lives should be punishable by death.
on August 22,2013 | 07:23AM
RichardCory wrote:
No one has ever presented any proof that anything released by Manning endangered soldiers' lives.
on August 22,2013 | 07:35AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Must be nice to go through life with blinders on.
on August 22,2013 | 09:17AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
I think RichardCory has a point and to a certain degree the government's own witnesses conceded as much. The point he misses however is that Manning was not authorized to release such information and doing so is a serious violation of law. As a country we cannot allow enlisted men and women, or for that matter officers, to essentially determine for themselves what information can and cannot be released unilaterally. Manning may have done so because of his conscious dictated so, however, by following is conscious he broke the law and as such must deal with the consequences. The irony here is that those who were the architects of the practices Manning sought to expose, particularly the torture, rendition, and other nonsence have never been prosecuted, with the exception of the courts in Italy which convicted the CIA stations chief for h is part in the rendition of the cleric to Egypt.
on August 22,2013 | 09:41AM
mrluke wrote:
So, in other words, you're saying, "No harm, no foul ?
on August 22,2013 | 12:54PM
cojef wrote:
Illegally transmitted highly classified materials to Wikileaks. It matters that highly sensitive and classified material was forwarded and WikiLeaks is profiting by disclosing the data. The Army is not absolved of any blame. They allowed this soldier who had identity problems, which they knew about and still assigned Chelsea to this highly sensitive position. The Top Brass heads should roll!
on August 22,2013 | 02:22PM
8082062424 wrote:
do the crime do the time plain and simple
on August 22,2013 | 08:26AM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
No hormone therapy at the taxpayers expense......
on August 22,2013 | 08:18AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
What the heck is going on! Put this dude in jail and let's be done with this. Geez.
on August 22,2013 | 08:27AM
iwanaknow wrote:
Truth is stranger than fiction?
on August 22,2013 | 08:38AM
First-Responder wrote:
Chelsea...they've got to be kidding? Why is the government giving security clearances to LGBT applicants? This proves they are a security risk. You can't get a clearance with a bad credit history or other factors that make you vulnerable to explotation.
on August 22,2013 | 08:49AM
Kailuaraised wrote:
I'm sure he's going to love leavenworth.
on August 22,2013 | 09:09AM
bully106 wrote:
he can want in one hand and poop in the other and see which one fills up first. the government had better NOT consider paying one penny for his gender change!
on August 22,2013 | 09:12AM
lowtone123 wrote:
There you go. Why not wait till you are sentenced to prison and then you get the surgery done on the taxpayer dime. Sounds like b.s.? There is precedence. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/04/massachusetts-judge-approves-taxpayer-funded-sex-change-for-inmate/
on August 22,2013 | 09:15AM
NoFire wrote:
Probably should just live as an inmate named Brad Manning for about 35 years.
on August 22,2013 | 09:16AM
50skane wrote:
He will make his some guy at the prison where is going very happy!
on August 22,2013 | 09:24AM
DownSpout wrote:
As one wag has pointed out, the Private wants to change his privates. But, my question is why Chelsea?
on August 22,2013 | 10:59AM
samidunn wrote:
This guy is going to cost the taxpayers millions over the course of his life time.
on August 22,2013 | 11:31AM
paradisetax wrote:
only in America...
on August 22,2013 | 12:32PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Judge: Mr. Manning, for your crimes, I will be placing you in a place where you will have no liberty and where you will have few rights. And, Mr. Manning, It gives me great, great pleasure, makes me happy to know, and I'm sure gives all of America comfort to know, that you, as a whimp, will suffer all those indignities that the comedians and hollywood joke about. So, don't make it easy for them, Mr. Manning. Don't drop the soap, Manning: Uh, Ok Judge. But, thanks and the joke's on you. I WANT to be someone's girlfriend.
on August 22,2013 | 02:21PM
PCWarrior wrote:
This traitor should just be shot. Period.
on August 22,2013 | 02:35PM
juscasting wrote:
Good try dude! If I was going to be sentenced for 3 decades I would certainly want to spend those years in a womens prison also!
on August 22,2013 | 02:47PM
HD36 wrote:
May his lesbian fantasies come true.
on August 22,2013 | 03:06PM
SteveToo wrote:
Is that to protect his b-u-tt in an all male prison????????????????
on August 22,2013 | 05:34PM
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