Nightly News   |  August 22, 2013

Manning, one day after sentencing, announces ‘I am female’

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, has announced he wants to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible in order to transition to a woman. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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>>> there's a big controversy tonight after a surprise moment that made news this morning. on nbc's "today," the army private at the center of the wikileaks scandal, bradley manning , declared he is a woman, as he heads off to begin his sentence at a military prison sot question tonight, will he get hormone treatments at ft. leavenworth ? jim miklaszewski joins us from the pentagon.

>> reporter: good evening. bradley manning arrived at the prison late today, convicted in the biggest leak in u.s. secrets in history, but it appears manning had one last secret left. just one day after bradley manning was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison , the army private dropped a bombshell on nbc's "today," in a statement read by savannah guthrie .

>> i want everyone to know the real me. i am chelsea manning . i am a female.

>> reporter: from this day on, manning asked to be called only by the name chelsea and the female pronoun "she," not "he." the evidence was already out there, this photo of manning wearing a woman's wig and lipstick was presented by defense lawyers during manning 's military trial for leaking u.s. secrets, as proof of transgender issues. but manning wants to take it one step further toward actually becoming a woman.

>> given the way that i feel and have felt since childhood, i want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.

>> reporter: a statement from the military prison at ft. leavenworth says the affirmy does not provide hormone treatment or sex reassignment therapy . manning 's lawyer promises to take it to court.

>> it is cruel and unusual punishment not to provide necessary medical treatment .

>> reporter: transgender advocates argue that the ultimate decision for hormone treatment should be up to manning and a doctor, not the warden.

>> private manning is transgender and has a gender identity of female regardless of what the army does or doesn't do or thinks it will or won't do.

>> reporter: but there's also concern about manning 's safety. the army reports that transgender prisoners are more likely to be assaulted by other inmates. officials at leavenworth insist they've taken steps to protect those prisoners like manning who may be at high risk . as for the name change , the army is not buying it. letters sent to manning at ft. leavenworth have to be addressed to bradley . chelsea won't make it. lester?