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    Convicted Army private Bradley Manning says he's a woman

    9:13 AM, Aug 22, 2013   |    comments
    • Photo shows Pfc. Bradley Manning wearing a blonde wig and lipstick. (Photo: CNN)
    • U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning (R) is escorted by military police as arrives to hear the verdict in his military trial July 30, 2013 at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
        
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    UNDATED (USA TODAY) -- Bradley Manning, the Army private sentenced to 35 years in military prison for leaking classified documents, revealed Thursday he intends to live out the remainder of his life as a woman.

    "I am Chelsea Manning. I am female," the Army private wrote in a statement read on NBC's TODAY show Thursday by his attorney. "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."

    Manning, 25, was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday after having been found guilty of 20 charges ranging from espionage to theft for leaking more than 700,000 documents to the WikiLeaks website while working in Iraq in 2010.

    "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)," he continued in the statement posted on the show's web site. "I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back."

    Manning signed the letter "Chelsea E. Manning."

    Manning faced a maximum of 90 years in prison after his conviction last month on charges of espionage, theft and fraud.

    He was convicted of one of the largest leaks of classified material in U.S. history and was at the center of a growing debate over government secrecy.

    Supporters of Manning's consider him a whistle-blower whose exposures served the public interest.

    The government called Manning a traitor who hurt the country.

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