Bradley Manning wants to live as a woman, be known as Chelsea

Photos: Intelligence leaker Bradley ManningCNN – by Michael Pearson

“I am Chelsea Manning.”

With those words, read from a statement on NBC’s “Today” on Thursday, Bradley Manning immediately shifted public conversation away from the Army private’s conviction on espionage charges to gender identity. 

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said in the statement. “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.”

While his supporters may back Manning, the Army said Thursday it won’t.

“The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery,” Lt. Col. Justin Platt told CNN on Thursday.

One Army official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about Manning’s case, said the private remains a male in the eyes of the Army. Another said Manning would be treated like any other prisoner.

“A lot of the inmates have issues they’re dealing with,” said the second official, who also was not authorized to speak publicly about Manning’s case. “Even if you have gender identity disorder, you still serve your sentence.”

The Human Rights Campaign said Thursday that the military should grant Manning’s wishes.

“The care she receives should be something that she and her doctors — including professionals who understand transgender care — agree is best for her,” the campaign said, using the pronoun Manning asked to be identified by. “There is a clear legal consensus that it is the government’s responsibility to provide medically necessary care for transgender people and the military has an obligation to follow those guidelines.”

Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, told “Today” that he’ll take action if the Army doesn’t provide Manning with the hormone therapy that he has requested of the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

“I’m hoping Fort Leavenworth would do the right thing and provide that,” Coombs said. “If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so.”

Manning was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in prison for leaking 750,000 pages of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. A military judge convicted Manning in July, sparing the private from the most serious charge of aiding the enemy.

Gender identity issues

The issue of Manning’s gender identity repeatedly surfaced in the court-martial proceedings. A widely circulated picture released by the military shows Manning wearing a blond wig.

The image came from an e-mail Manning sent to his sergeant titled “My Problem.”

“It’s not going away, it’s haunting me more and more as I get older,” Manning wrote in the e-mail. “Now, the consequences of it are dire, at a time when it’s causing me great pain in itself. As a result, I’m not sure what to do about it.”

An Army psychologist called by the defense said Manning appeared to be isolated and under intense pressure as a male soldier struggling with gender identity issues.

Speaking in the sentencing phase of the court-martial last week, Manning said the decision to leak the documents came while “dealing with a lot of issues” — a reference to the gender identity crisis.


Manning’s announcement brought a wide range of reaction.

On Twitter, where “Chelsea Manning” was a hot topic of discussion, user onekade wrote of being “pretty much in awe of Chelsea Manning’s bravery, on so many fronts.”

Others were less supportive.

“Chelsea Manning,” conservative pundit John Podhoretz tweeted. “This country has officially jumped the shark.”

Coombs told “Today” that Manning did not intend to make a public issue of his desire to live as a woman.

“She never really wanted this to be public to begin with,” Coombs said. “When the information came out, you need to understand that she gave it to Adrian Lamo in a very private setting, in a one-on-one chat, never expecting this to be public. Now that it is, unfortunately, you have to deal with it in a public manner.”

Lamo is a former hacker from California who pleaded guilty in 2004 to breaking into The New York Times secure computer network. In 2010, Lamo, in California, and Manning, in Iraq, chatted over a few days, Lamo has said.

Legal issues

The issue of taxpayers being required to pay for gender reassignment surgery has come up repeatedly in recent court cases.

Earlier this year, a federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit brought by a transgender prisoner in Virginia, where a prison had refused to allow her to undergo sex reassignment surgery.

Last year, a federal judge ordered Massachusetts to pay for a sex change operation for a convicted murderer. The state is appealing that decision.

There are few good statistics on the number of transgender inmates in U.S. prisons, according to Vincent Villano of the National Center for Transgender Equality. A study of California prisons identified 330 transgender inmates in an overall prison population of 160,000, he said.

The center believes those numbers are higher, he said.

CNN’s Chris Lawrence and Dan Merica contributed to this report.

38 thoughts on “Bradley Manning wants to live as a woman, be known as Chelsea

  1. Question: What are they slipping into his food????!!!!

    Probably some of the same crap were getting in our water system, food and air.

    No wonder the country is slowly turning pyschotic.

    JD – US Marines – Unless he is just being brilliant! and trying to get locked up in a womens prison as “transgender female” (wink, wink,.. nod, nod…)

    1. I am sure though JD that I heard that that Manning is a gay boy faggot though. Twinkle toes would have been a better name for that Manning anomally. Got to give him/her credit for what was exposed though.

    2. I echo your questions, USMFT.

      Could be Manning finally cracked, I dunno, but this character smear is awfully convenient, ain’t it?

  2. Hey, this raises more questions. We know that Greenwald and now Manning are pole-smokers. Assange appears to be light in the loafers.
    1.What about Snowball? and if so,
    2.Why are fag whistleblowers the only ones with the balls to stand up to the regime?

    1. Aw man Rums it makes me wonder if they are not on some kind of drug that they put in their food, ya know like they did to the solgiers back in the 60`s and early 70`s………… ROFLMAO HA HA HA, I bet that big bubba is gonna just love haveing Manning as his fantasy boy cell mate 🙂 . I can see it now – twinkle toes will be his new name. Yep twinkle toes and big bubba.

      1. Well he/she/it has no reason to complain. He/she/it has 30 years of getting buggered to look forward to. I would think from It’s perspective, that would almost be heaven.

    1. Hey IT looks better than chelsea clinton? or was she really webb hubbels daughter? google that one, she does look like that bottom feeding bastard!

  3. Distraction…..the fact he/she pointed out the devil’s works doesn’t sit to well….well with the devil….lol. “BANG!!! 35 years…what you want some more time buddy?”

  4. Obvious smear campaign is obvious. Wow these government military
    types are the picture of subtlety aren’t they?

  5. Amazing what 3 years in solitary confinement torture, combined with the supervision of military psyops experts, can accomplish regarding the total and complete public discreditation of the motivations and character of a whistleblower exposing treason and war crimes.

    Apparently they’ve learned a great deal of practical knowledge at lab GITMO.

  6. Ok..I’ll prove that photo is fake.
    1. Manning has a very distinct cleft in his chin. Chin cleft not present in photo.
    2. Check out the nose…take a close look at it. It looks like a portion of a nose superimposed onto a different nose. If Manning liked make-up you think he would’ve fixed that.
    3. why is the picture black and white? this is the 21st century isn’t it? Manning to cheap to shell out for a color photo? No Iphone?
    4. This picture was obviously of a woman taken in a car and altered later. Somebody added a bit of nose and then forgot to add the chin cleft and since it’s black and white no eye color can be established.
    5. Judging from the shape of the window I would say this picture originated no later than the 1960’s.
    6. This article is from CNN which is basically repeating what NBC said.
    Anybody really trust CNN or NBC?
    Regardless of whether or not Manning want’s to be known as Chelsea I don’t really care…but don’t throw a fake pic at me and expect me to believe it.

    1. tammyc,
      “3. why is the picture black and white? this is the 21st century isn’t it?”

      First I have to say this is not art nor is it good photography.
      B&W photography is an amazing and nearly dead art. I personally love it and have been developing my own film and prints for at least 40 years now. I had my own darkroom with enlarger and contact printing abilities by the time I was 12. I don’t do nearly as much as I used to because it has become very costly to do so (film, paper and chemicals)
      But my digital camera has a setting for B&W when I want it and it does work quite nicely. Black & White is not dead! It is an unappreciated art form today. Sadly, only appreciated by students of film and talmudvision it seems.
      Also, in that vein, I hate Ted Turners colorization of old movies. He even colorized a few that were made well after color films became the norm. The directors and producers film in B&W intentionally and Turner decides he can edit a film to his preference over the directors.

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