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Bradley Manning becomes Chelsea Manning

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The American courts have sentenced a man and locked up a woman. Shortly after receiving 35 years jail time for charges that included espionage, Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning announced that she was now a woman and wanted to be recognised as Chelsea Manning.

Manning issued a statement saying she wanted to be addressed as a woman and to begin hormone therapy. "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," the soldier said. "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."

Manning's lawyer David Coombs said that his client was prepared for legal action if prison authorities refused to provide hormone therapy. "The ultimate goal is to be comfortable in her skin and to be the person that she's never had an opportunity to be," he said.

Manning did not press the issue during the case as she did not want it to overshadow the entire defence, although her case did emphasise her struggles with gender identity. Witnesses suggested that the issue had affected Manning's mental stability. Manning originally joined the army in an attempt to suppress her desires to become a woman, training as an intelligence analyst before being posted to Iraq.

During the trial, it was revealed that Manning had sent a photo of herself in a long blonde wig and lipstick, labelled 'My Problem', to her supervisor. "The stress that she was under was mostly to give context to what was going on at the time," Coombs told NBC. "It was never an excuse because that's not what drove the actions. What drove the actions was a strong moral compass."

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