Army private Bradley Manning, who was recently sentenced to 35 years in prison for giving classified documents to WikiLeaks, wants to live life as a woman, Manning's lawyer said on the Today show Thursday.
"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," Manning, 25, said in a statement that Today co-host Savannah Guthrie read on the air. "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 also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun."
Asked by Guthrie why Manning was choosing to come out as transgender now, her lawyer, David Coombs, explained: "Chelsea didn't want to have this be something that overshadowed the case. ... She never really wanted this to be public to begin with."
Manning's gender identity disorder was brought up during her trial. The defense at one point introduced a photo of Manning wearing lipstick and a blonde wig.
Fort Leavenworth, where Manning will serve her sentence, does not provide hormone therapy, Coombs explained on Today, adding that he would consider legal action against the prison in order to allow Manning to receive hormones.
Watch Coombs' interview with Guthrie below: