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 Thursday by asking to be known as a woman named Chelsea and to undergo hormone treatment.
Manning’s gender-identity struggle 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 in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., 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.
However, Leavenworth spokesman George Marcec said later Thursday that if Manning wants to go by Chelsea in prison, a name change would have to be approved in court and then a petition submitted with the Army to change its records.
Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, told “Today” he hopes Leavenworth officials will accommodate Manning’s request.