Soldier Bradley Manning is female, and officially came out as transgender as she thanked supporters in a letter.
Bradley Manning announced her change of gender as well as a new name, Chelsea Manning, in the letter read on this morning's Today show.
Manning disclosed the change of gender she plans in the statement titled "The Next Stage of My Life," explaining that she will now live as a female and requesting that she be referred to from now on using the correct gender pronoun and name except when absolutely necessary.
"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible."
Manning continues, welcoming communication from supporters and adding:
"I hope that you will support me in this transition. 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). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back."
The letter is simply signed: "Thank you, Chelsea E. Manning."
The admission from Manning, whose gender identity has been a side topic throughout the debate about whether his actions were heroic or criminal, was met with a degree of confusion on social media.
Users did not know whether Manning was serious in her admission given the timing, and some even wondered if news organizations had been hacked:
Manning says is female, wants to live as a woman http://t.co/hf7nW7tplz Not that there is anything wrong if true, but was Reuters hacked?
— Lin (@subWOW) August 22, 2013
"@staronline: U.S. soldier Manning says is female, wants to live as a woman http://t.co/0KqBC0cApp" strategic planning or fact?
— bloomerela (@bloomerela) August 22, 2013
Others seem skeptical of gender identity issues overall, mocking the admission:
Bradley Manning wants to live rest of his life as a female. And I shall live the rest of my life as an octopus. #BradleyManning
— Jeffrey (@JWcolour) August 22, 2013
Following the announcement of a change of name and gender for the soldier history will remember as Bradley Manning, it's unclear to what degree her transition will be accommodated during her prison sentence.