PFC Bradley Manning announces “I am female”

PFC Bradley Manning dressed as a woman. SOURCE:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A day after being sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified government records to WikiLeaks, PFC Bradley Manning announced his transition to become a woman. 

“I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” Manning wrote in a statement released on the TODAY Show. “Given the way 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.”

David Coombs, the civilian defense attorney representing Manning, said he will work to ensure that Manning receives the “appropriate medical treatment” for gender dysphoria while confined in Leavenworth.

Manning’s struggles with gender identity was raised during the defense’s pre-sentencing phase.

About month before Manning’s arrest in Iraq, the then-22-year-old Army intelligence analyst emailed his supervisor in Iraq, Master Sgt. Paul Adkins, a photo of of himself dressed as a woman wearing a blond wig.

In the email – dated April 24, 2010 – Manning revealed his struggles with gender identity. At the time, the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was in effect.

Manning wrote:

“This is my problem. I’ve had signs of it for a very long time. Its [sic] caused problems within my family. I thought a career in the military would get rid of it. It’s not something I seek out for attention, and I’ve been trying very, very hard to get rid of it by placing myself in situations where it would be impossible. But, it’s not going away, its haunting me more and more as I get older. Now, the consequences of it are dire, at a time when its causing me great pain in itself.

“As a result, I’m not sure what to do about it. It’s destroyed my ties with my family, caused me to lose several jobs, and its currently affecting my career and preventing me from developing as a person. It’s the cause of my pain and confusion, and turns even the most basic things in my life extremely difficult. 

“I don’t know what to do anymore, and the only ‘help’ that seems to be available is severe punishment and/or getting rid of me. All I do know, is that fear of getting caught has caused me to go to great lengths to consciously hide the problem. As a result, the problem and the constant cover-up has worn me down to a point where it’s always on my mind, making it difficult to concentrate at work, difficult to pay attention to whatever is going on, difficult to sleep, impossible to have any meaningful conversations, and makes my entire life feel like a bad dream that won’t end. 

“Like I said, I don’t know what to do and I don’t know whats going to happen, but at this point, it feels like I’m not really *here* anymore, and everyone’s concerned about me and afraid of me. I’m sorry.”

Capt. Michael Worsley, a clinical psychologist who treated Manning in Iraq, testified about diagnosing Manning with gender identity disorder around the time Manning punched Spec. Jirleah Showman. The incident led to Manning’s removal from the Secure Compartmented Information Facility [SCIF] where he worked as an all-source intelligence analyst until early May 2010.

“He feels that he’s in a bad way and this is causing much pain and confusion. He was going it alone and really felt alone,” said Worsley.

Worsely noted that gender dysphoria is at best “an extremely difficult process” and could cause an individual to feel alone, struggle to fit within society and in their work environment.

To make matters worse, Worsely testified that Manning could not have “openly sought treatment” for his gender identity disorder in the military at the time.

“Based on the UCMJ [Uniform Code of Military Justice]…there would never be a time that he would be able to be openly female…The treatment would be helping to adjust to that…It’s helping him be comfortable with that process [of being female],” said Worsely. “That would be difficult to do in the Army and in the military.”

Furthermore, Worsely pointed out the military did not offer much support mechanism to help Manning deal with his gender identity and sexual orientation issues.

“There was nothing available other than somebody like me and, again, he was taking a chance with that,” Worsley said. “At that point, being homosexual was…an UCMJ violation. So to be openly gay was a UCMJ violation. You could be court marshaled and put out of the military. So to share that with anybody was an extremely difficult thing.”

If Manning was court martialed for his homosexuality, he would likely lose his military benefits – including the GI Bill to help pay for college.

“It’s clear [Manning] was dealing with a difficult issue and we offered that difficult issue to explain the context as to what happened – not to excuse it, not to minimize it, but to explain what this young man was going at the time,” Coombs said in his pre-sentencing closing argument.

Coombs pointed out that Manning’s struggles with his gender identity led to several outbursts before and at the beginning of his deployment that should have raised a red flag about whether Manning should have even been deployed to Iraq.

“There were many red flags for the unit to see and act upon…[that] would have prevented PFC Manning’s conduct,” Coombs argued.


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2 Comments on “PFC Bradley Manning announces “I am female”

  1. Pingback: Transcript: Press conference Q&A with defense counsel David Coombs on PFC Bradley Manning's 35-year sentence - part III | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: Court Martial of Army Private First Class Bradley Manning | What The Folly?!

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