Wikileaker and Army private Manning announced today through her lawyer that she identifies as a woman and would like to be referred to with female pronouns and by her new name, Chelsea Manning. She also expressed her desire to begin hormone therapy “as soon as possible”.
With the fact that she’s facing up to 35 years in prison, although most experts say she’ll likely serve around eight of those years, it’s not clear when exactly she will be able to pursue hormone therapy in earnest. It will be interesting to see how the prison handles this, it’s hard to imagine that they would consider complying with her request while she’s serving her time in an all male prison and, since she hasn’t actually gone through the transition, there’s no chance of her serving her time in a female facility.
Subject: The Next Stage of My Life
I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund, or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.
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. I hope that you will support me in this transition. 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.
Chelsea E. Manning
For those of you not familiar with what exactly Manning did to get this prison sentence in the first place it’s important to understand that many, including myself, believe that Manning is far from a traitor. In fact she is likely as close to what we have to an American hero that we get.
A soldier that was caught between her conscious and the atrocities she was witnessing. Atrocities that continually went unchecked by her supervising officers. In fact, many times it seemed to be encouraged. The documents that Manning leaked didn’t expose any national security secrets, the documents exposed systematic torture and abuse along with soldiers laughing as they killed innocent civilians.
“Manning was under the impression that his leaked information was going to really change how the world views the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and future wars actually,” Navy Capt. David Moulton, a forensic psychiatrist testifying in Manning’s defense, told the military court on July 14.
“It was his opinion that if through crowd sourcing that enough analysis was done on these documents, which he felt to be very important, that it would lead to greater good, that society as a whole would come to the conclusion that the wars weren’t worth it, that really no wars are worth it.”
Instead she was decried as a traitor to his country and accused of treason.
Manning’s lawyer, who read the statement on the Today show earlier, said that Fort Leavenworth, will Manning will serve her time doesn’t provide hormone therapy but hopes that they will “do the right thing”. Manning, according to her lawyer, is not interested in reassignment surgery.