By Blake Neff - 08/22/13 12:33 PM EDT
Bradley Manning, the army private sentenced to 35 years in prison for releasing classified documents to WikiLeaks, announced Thursday that he wanted to live as a woman.
“As a transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female,” Manning said in a statement read by his attorney, David Coombs, on the “Today” show.
Fort Leavenworth, the military prison where Manning will serve his sentence, does not offer hormone therapy, but Coombs said he would fight to get his client the treatment.
Reports that Manning identified as transgendered have circulated since chat logs between him and hacker Adrian Lamo which discussed gender were leaked to the public in 2011.
Manning's defense attempted to use his confusion over his gender identity as a mitigating factor during his sentencing.
Manning leaked more than 700,000 pages of classified information and was convicted in a trial on espionage and theft charges. But he was acquitted of the more serious charge of aiding the enemy.
He apologized for the disclosures in court, saying he was “sorry I hurt the United States” and his attorney said he would seek a White House pardon or a commutation of his sentence.
The White House said they would consider a clemency petition “like any other application.”