I’ll sue Army for my sex-swap! SAYS WIKILEAKS SOLDIER BRADLEY
WHISTLEBLOWER soldier Bradley Manning announced that he wanted to live as a woman the day after he was sentenced because a military prison said it would not provide hormone treatment, his lawyer has revealed.
David Coombs said Manning, who now wants to be known as Chelsea, had known for a long time he would make such a statement, but “she wanted, essentially, for the media surrounding the trial to dissipate”.
Manning did not want people to think the statement was a publicity stunt.
“People might think it was an effort to get further attention,” said Mr Coombs, of Providence, Rhode Island.
Mr Coombs said he and Manning knew the US Army might not provide hormone treatment but were hoping the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, would allow it since Manning had been diagnosed with gender-identity disorder by an army psychiatrist who gave evidence at his trial.
It was not until they read a Courthouse News Service story that Manning decided to make the announcement.
The story quoted spokeswoman Kimberly Lewis saying the prison would not provide hormone therapy.
It was published on August 20, the day before Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking mountains of classified material to WikiLeaks. “It was Chelsea’s intent to do this all along,” Mr Coombs said.
“It was only after Fort Leavenworth had said that they would not provide any sort of medical treatment that we decided not to wait.”
Mr Coombs said he hoped the military prison “will simply do the right thing” so Manning will not have to sue in military or civilian court.
He said at this point Manning did not want sex-reassignment surgery and expected to be kept with men in prison. The Fort Leavenworth prison is all-male.
Mr Coombs said Manning would pay for hormone therapy.
The therapy typically involves high doses of oestrogen to promote breast development and other female characteristics.
Mr Coombes described it as similar to ensuring someone with high blood pressure received medication.
He also said on his blog that Manning chose Elizabeth as his new middle name, replacing Edward. He posted Manning’s statement about her identity change, which was displayed on NBC’s Today show.
Mr Coombs said Manning hand-wrote the statement, with some help from the lawyer, who typed it. The statement was signed Chelsea Manning.
He said Manning knows there is the potential for confusion with the name change, and expected to be referred to as Bradley when it has to do with events prior to sentencing, the appeal of the court-martial and the request for a presidential pardon. Prison mail must be addressed to Bradley Manning.
“There’s a realisation that most people know her as Bradley,” Mr Coombs said.
Manning was demoted from private first class to private at sentencing.
He will be dishonourably discharged when he finishes the prison sentence. The earliest he can be released is 2020.
ALL CHANGE: Manning as Bradley and