23 Aug 2013

Manning: please call me Chelsea

11:32 am on 23 August 2013

Bradley Manning, the US soldier sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents, now considers himself a woman called Chelsea.

''I want everyone to know the real me," Manning, 25, said in a statement read on the Today show on NBC TV on Thursday in the presence of his lawyer, David Coombs. "I am Chelsea Manning, I am a female."

"Given the way I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible," the statement said.

"I also request that starting today you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun."

On Wednesday, a military court sentenced Manning, 25, to 35 years in prison for passing more than 700,000 documents to WikiLeaks.

Most of the sentence will be served in military custody at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

After the announcement, Mr Coombs told NBC that Manning has not indicated whether he would pursue sex change surgery.

"I don't know about the sex reassignment surgery ... Chelsea hasn't indicated that that would be her desire, but as far as the hormone therapy, yes," he said.

"I'm hoping Fort Leavenworth would do the right thing and provide that."