Private Manning’s trial for espionage and treason may have ended, but the former soldier's legal battle for hormone treatment has just begun.
As if the trial had not been dramatic enough, earlier this morning Manning's lawyer confirmed that his client suffers from gender dysphoria and has assumed the female identity of “Chelsea Manning.”
Mere hours after receiving a sentence of 35 years, the longest ever served for an intelligence leak, Manning’s attorney Daniel Coomb reported that the private will be appealing to the president of the United States to commute the sentence, if not pardon the conviction entirely. Then, mere hours after that dramatic revelation, Manning wrote in a statement to NBC Today:
“I am Chelsea Manning. I am female.”
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Manning admits these feelings have been around since childhood, but that the legal team decided to keep the details private until after the trial. Along with the revelation, several photos of Manning dressed as a female have surfaced from the trial.
Though the 25-year-old waited a lifetime to begin this transformation, the physical change will only now officially begin. This is obviously somewhat problematic for an inmate of federal prison.
Manning’s attorneys used gender dysphoria during the trial, but after the conviction, argued that it didn't drive the actions that brought them there. Copmbs reports that the defense came from, "The stress that he was under was mostly to give context to what was going on at the time. It was never an excuse because that's not what drove his actions. What drove his actions was a strong moral compass."
Private Manning fought for this country in Iraq, fought for convictions in detainment, fought for personal defense in trial, and now will fight for identity in prison.