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Bradley Manning: 'I Am A Female,' Call Me Chelsea

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, before a sentencing hearing in his court martial.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, before a sentencing hearing in his court martial.

"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."

That's part of a statement from Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to NBC-TV's Today show.

Manning, the former intelligence analyst who was responsible for the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history, was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in prison. Manning could be paroled in as soon as seven years.

In the statement read Thursday on Today, the 25-year-old Manning asks that "starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility)."

As The Associated Press writes, "Manning's struggle with gender identity disorder — the sense of being a woman trapped in a man's body — was key to the defense. Attorneys had presented evidence of Manning's struggle with gender identity, including a photo of the soldier in a blond wig and lipstick sent to a therapist."

Thursday on Today, Manning's attorney, David Coombs, said testimony about "the stress that [Manning] was under was mostly to give context to what was going on at the time. ... It was never an excuse because that's not what drove his actions. What drove his actions was a strong moral compass."

Manning is expected to be held at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. According to Courthouse News Service, the prison there "does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery to inmates."

But Coombs said on Today that he hopes Fort Leavenworth "would do the right thing" and provide such therapy for Manning. "If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so," he said.

Update at 11 a.m. ET. On How NPR And Other News Outlets Are Referring To Manning:

NPR, like other news outlets, is at this point continuing to refer to the soldier as "Bradley Manning" on first reference. Manning's name has not been legally changed. The soldier's statement indirectly concedes that point about his legal status: "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)."

The Poynter Institute has rounded up some of the guidance media organizations give on this point.

The New York Times:

"transgender (adj.) is an overall term for people whose current identity differs from their sex at birth, whether or not they have changed their biological characteristics. Cite a person's transgender status only when it is pertinent and its pertinence is clear to the reader. Unless a former name is newsworthy or pertinent, use the name and pronouns (he, his, she, her, hers) preferred by the transgender person. If no preference is known, use the pronouns consistent with the way the subject lives publicly.{new 3/05}"

The Associated Press:

"transgender: Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.

"If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly."

In the coverage of this story so far today, you can see that news outlets are avoiding referring to Manning as a "he" or "she" in subsequent references. Instead, they are referring to "Manning," or "the soldier," or "the former intelligence analyst."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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