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Bradley Manning Wants to Live as a Female Now: 'I Am Chelsea Manning

"I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition."

Army private Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to prison for leaking classified documents, revealed to NBC's "Today" show that he wants to live out the rest of his life as a woman named Chelsea Manning.

In this file photo from Wednesday, June 5, 2013, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., after the third day of his court martial. (AP)

“I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” Manning said in a statement read on the "Today" show Thursday. “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),” he added in the statement. “I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.”

Manning's attorney, David Coombs, said he would hope Ft. Levenworth, where Manning will serve his sentence, would "do the right thing" and provide the hormone therapy he's requesting.

"If not," he added, "then I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so."

The full text of Manning's statement 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

The 25-year-old Manning was sentenced to 35 years on Wednesday. He was found guilty of 20 separate charges, which ranged from espionage to theft when he leaked more than 700,000 documents to the WikiLeaks website. Manning, who had a secret clearance, was working in Iraq in 2010.

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