This has been a big week for Bradley Manning. On Wednesday, the WikiLeaks leaker was sentenced to 35 years in prison after he was found guilty of 20 criminal charges that included, as the Washington Post reported, “violations of the Espionage Act, for copying and disseminating classified military field reports, State Department cables, and assessments of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”
Yes, he will be doing lots of prison time — but he hopes that time will be spent not as a man, but as a woman. The other big Bradley Manning news this week is that Bradley Manning is now Chelsea Manning and identifies as female.
“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” the Army private wrote in a statement read on TODAY. “Given the way that 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.”
She added the following: “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.”
There is no word yet whether the prison will accommodate Manning’s request, but odds are not in her favor. The Army said in a statement that they do “not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder.” But Manning’s lawyer David Coombs told the Today Show, “If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so.”
Yes, the plot indeed thickens. Do you think that the Army should support her transition? Or should Manning wait until she is released?
Photo Source: Wiki Commons/United States Army