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Manning Says He Wants To Live As Woman
Bradley Manning, the US soldier sentenced for leaking classified documents, has said he wants to live the rest of his life as a woman.
However, the military prison where he will serve his 35-year sentence, said he would not be allowed to wear a wig or a bra.
A spokesman for Fort Leavenworth - an all-male prison - said staff were able to separate soldiers from the other inmates based on the risk to themselves and others, adding that Manning's hair would also have to be kept to military stand
Manning revealed his intentions in a statement to NBC, saying: "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am 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)," the statement read.
The 25-year-old signed the letter "Chelsea E. Manning".
A spokeswoman for the US Army said it does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery.
Military inmates do have access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and behavioural science specialists, she said.
The confession came a day after Manning was sentenced for turning over classified files to WikiLeaks in the biggest breach of secret data in US history.
He had been found guilty of 20 charges ranging from espionage to theft for leaking more than 700,000 documents to the whistle-blowing website while working in Iraq in 2010.
The prosecution had sought to portray him as a traitor, asking for at least a 60-year term.
But he was not convicted of the more serious crime of aiding the enemy, which could have carried a life sentence without parole.
He will be eligible for parole within nine years.
His lawyers argued during the trial that Manning suffered extreme inner turmoil over his gender identity - his feeling that he was a woman trapped in a man's body - while serving in the macho military, which at the time barred gays from serving openly.
Among the evidence was a photo of him in a blonde wig and lipstick.
The defence team also maintained he was an idealistic soldier who wanted to expose brutal truths about America's military and diplomatic corps, and generate debate over the wars and US policy.
During his sentencing, he apologised for the damage he caused, saying: "When I made these decisions, I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people."
His lawyer said after the sentencing that Manning was planning to send a letter to Barack Obama to request a presidential pardon.
"If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society," said the text of the letter.
"I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal."