Manning announced the decision in a written statement provided to NBC's "Today" show by her attorney, David Coombs. She asked supporters use her new name and the feminine pronoun. Her statement was signed "Chelsea E. Manning."
The statement read:
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.
Manning's defense attorney David Coombs told the "Today" show in an interview that he is hoping officials at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., will accommodate Manning's hormone therapy request. To be clear, Manning does not want surgery.
If Fort Leavenworth does not [cooperate with Manning], then I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so.Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison -- she faced up to 90. Manning will have to serve a third of her sentence before she is eligible for parole.
During a press conference after her sentence was handed down, Coombs read a short statement from Manning in which the Wikileaks whistleblower compared U.S. policies enacted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to other controversial events from the nation's history.
In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our War on Terror.In addition, Coombs revealed to the media that prosecutors had earlier offered Manning a lower sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. While citing an NDA which prevented him from listing the full details of the proposal, he stated that Manning would have been given a sentence of less than 35 years had she accepted.
Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically-based dissention [sic], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.
Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.
As the late Howard Zinn once said, "There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."