News / USA

Convicted WikiLeaker Manning Wants to Live as a Woman

U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier convicted of giving classified state documents to WikiLeaks, is pictured dressed as a woman in this 2010 photograph obtained on August 14, 2013.
U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier convicted of giving classified state documents to WikiLeaks, is pictured dressed as a woman in this 2010 photograph obtained on August 14, 2013.
Reuters
Bradley Manning says wants to live as woman named Chelsea. Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier sentenced to 35 years in military prison for the biggest breach of classified documents in the nation's history, said on Thursday he is female and wants to live as a woman named Chelsea.
 
Manning, 25, launched an unprecedented bid to get female hormone treatment in a military prison a day after he was sentenced for leaking documents to the WikiLeaks website.
 
“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 said in the statement read by anchorwoman Savannah Guthrie on NBC News' “Today” show.
 
During the sentencing phase of Manning's court-martial for leaking more than 700,000 secret documents, defense attorneys pointed out that the soldier suffered from gender identity disorder. A psychologist testified Manning had a difficult time adjusting to the “hypermasculine environment” of a combat zone.
 
Manning said in the statement that he wished to begin receiving hormone therapy while serving his sentence in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
 
A spokeswoman said the Army did not provide hormone therapy or gender-reassignment surgery, but that military inmates have access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and behavioral science specialists.
 
“Given the way that I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible,” Manning said in the statement. “I also request that starting today you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.”
 
Manning's lawyer David Coombs said on the TV program he expected his client to get a pardon from U.S. President Barack Obama. Manning, who was convicted last month at Fort Meade, Maryland, on 20 charges, including espionage and theft, could be eligible for parole in seven years.
 
During the trial, Coombs had argued that Manning had been increasingly isolated and under intense stress when he leaked the files, and that his superiors had ignored warning signs.
 
Coombs said his client was not seeking gender-reassignment surgery, but he would press Fort Leavenworth to provide hormone therapy for Manning.
 
“I'm hoping that Fort Leavenworth will do the right thing and provide that. If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced  to do so,” Coombs said.
 
'Comfortable in her Skin'
 
Asked if 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.
 
Coombs said he was not worried about Manning's safety in a military prison since inmates there were first-time offenders who wanted to complete their sentences and get out.
 
Experts generally view military prisons as safer than civilian prisons since the inmates are accustomed to hierarchy and discipline.
 
Manning had not wanted his sexual identity issues 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, testified during Manning's trial that the soldier suffered from gender dysphoria, or wanting to be the opposite sex, as well as narcissism and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
 
Geoffrey Corn, a military law expert at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, called Manning's bid for hormone treatment the first of its kind for the military. Openly gay members were barred from serving until the Pentagon's “don't ask, don't tell” policy was repealed in 2011.
 
“We don't have any precedent for the application of military medical care for elective gender reassignment therapy,” he said.
 
Corn was skeptical that Manning would get approval for hormone therapy since federal courts have traditionally given the military deference for its life and activities.
 
“I don't see it happening,” he said.
 
Chase Stangio, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, said in a statement that the Army's saying it did not provide hormone therapy raised “serious constitutional issues.”
 
Courts have consistently found that denying medical care for gender dysphoria to prisoners based on blanket exclusions violates the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which bars cruel and unusual punishment, Stangio said.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: GH1618 from: USA
August 23, 2013 1:07 PM
Pvt. Manning seems to imagine that he is in control of events, although he has not been for some time. The current phase of his life, as a military prisoner, will not be over for several years at least. He would be better off if he would accept that fact and try to be a model prisoner so that he can qualify for an early parole date. Then he will be able to transition to the next phase of his life.

by: scallywag from: nyc
August 22, 2013 5:43 PM
Manning is a classic example of what we are not, from the point of view of the dominant paradigm. once exposed as a traitor, it is natural for the news to highlight all the possible ways in which he represents The Other. trans-sexuality is — again, for the point of view of the dominant paradigm — tailor-made to fit that archetype, and so it is destined to receive plenty of coverage. one has to expect that coverage of him will cast him as the anti-example, freak narcissist who deserves all he has coming to him....
In Response

by: PragueGuy from: Prague
August 23, 2013 7:23 AM
The reason that Manning desires to live the next 35 years as a woman is very simple: He would rather have a cell mate named Betty-Sue than to get doodled by a cell mate named Big-Bubba. Genius Brad, pure genius!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs