Bradley Manning announces gender identity, changes name to Chelsea Manning

Bradley Manning confirmed through her lawyer Thursday morning that she identifies as a woman and will be known as Chelsea Manning moving forward. Her transgender status had widely been reported on, but Chelsea confirmed her identity to the media this morning for the first time.

Just sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday for standing up for what she believed is right and giving the American people access to information she believed the government shouldn’t hide, Manning is exhibiting incredible bravery in confirming her transgender status just one day later.

While gay rights have made great progress this year the president and Supreme Court supporting marriage equality, transgender issues are still largely taboo—or at least foreign—to mainstream America.

The promise of the country Chelsea Manning served in uniform is that all people get a fair shake and get to live how they want. For defending her own choices so fast after being punished for defending American military honesty, she deserves a damn medal of honor. Statement from her lawyer via Today Show is below:

Subject: The Next Stage of My Life

I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund, or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.

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. 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). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.

Thank you,

Chelsea E. Manning