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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora