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A Kansas judge on Wednesday will consider Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning’s petition to legally change her name from Bradley, as she serves a 35-year sentence for passing classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
The former intelligence analyst, who is serving her sentence at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, said in August that she wants to be known as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning instead of Bradley Edward Manning, and to be treated as a woman.
Leavenworth County District Judge David King scheduled the name-change hearing, which Manning is not expected to attend. He could rule on the matter during the hearing or issue his ruling on a later date.
Manning, who grew up in Oklahoma, filed the court petition as the first step toward getting her Army records changed. She has been diagnosed by at least two Army behavioral health specialists with gender dysphoria, or gender identity disorder.
Manning was sentenced in August for six Espionage Act violations and 14 other offenses for leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents, plus battlefield video, while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010. An Army general upheld the convictions last week, clearing the way for appeals with the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.
The Army still treats Manning as a man and refers to her by her male birth name.
Approval of Manning’s legal name change request would clear the way for official changes to her military records, but it wouldn’t mean the military would start treating Manning as a woman instead of a man. For example, she wouldn’t be transferred from Leavenworth, which doesn't have a women’s unit, to a military prison that does.