Three cheers for freedom! Bradley Manning, the Army private who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the organization Wikileaks, announced yesterday to Today.com that he no longer wants to be referred to as “Bradley,” and instead will live out the rest of his life as a woman named Chelsea.
Manning was recently sentenced to 35 years in military prison for leaking nearly a million documents, including material related to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Guantanamo Bay.
She has previously said that her sexual identity influenced her decision to release the documents, for which she was arrested in May in 2010. While living as a man, she was out to her fellow soldiers as gay, although she had circulated emails referencing her sexual identity. In April 2010, she sent an email to a former supervisor telling the Army to “get rid of it,” presumably referencing her gender nonconformism. The email had the subject line “My Problem” and included a photo of Manning in a blonde wig and lipstick.
As of this morning, her Wikipedia page and all pronouns therein had already been changed to reflect her announcement.
Her full statement says that she plans to seek hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery while in military prison at Fort Leavenworth. The Army doesn’t provide these services (yet!) but Manning says she plans to fight that policy.
“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),” said Manning in her statement, signed Chelsea E. Manning.
Whatever your feelings on Wikileaks are, Manning’s move will undoubtedly increase the visibility of transfolk in the mainstream US and in the Army, and that freedom is indisputably worth fighting for.
Thanks to Today.com
Photo via Salon.com