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Manning seeks formal name change to Chelsea

20 March 2014, 13:14

The Army private who was tried and convicted as Bradley Edward Manning for leaking US secrets to WikiLeaks is petitioning a Kansas court for a name change, to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

Leavenworth County District Court has scheduled a 23 April hearing on the request, according to a Leavenworth Times legal notice sent on Wednesday to The Associated Press by a spokesperson at Fort Leavenworth, where Manning is serving a 35-year sentence.

The petition was filed on 27 January and published 1 March after it was submitted by Manning's lawyer, David Coombs of Providence, Rhode Island.

Coombs didn't immediately respond to questions about the petition. Manning said in an October letter to supporters that Coombs would help her with the name change.

The Private Manning Support Network announced the petition on its website on Wednesday. The group also said it is changing its name to the Chelsea Manning Support Network.

Officials at Fort Leavenworth have said Manning would have to get a legal name change to be known as Chelsea.

Gender dysphoria

The Associated Press has referred to Manning as Chelsea since shortly after she announced in August her desire to be known by that name and treated as a woman. Manning has been diagnosed by at least two Army behavioral health specialists with gender dysphoria, or gender identity disorder.

In addition to the name change, Manning has asked to receive hormone replacement therapy and live as a woman while incarcerated. She and Coombs have said they will go to court, if necessary, to obtain the hormone treatment.

Civilian federal prisons are required to provide such treatment, if deemed medically necessary, for inmates diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Unlike in military prisons, the policy also allows inmates who believe they are the wrong gender to dress and live accordingly as part of their individual treatment plans.

The military has said it does not provide treatment for gender dysphoria because Pentagon policy dictates that transgender soldiers are not allowed to serve. But Manning can't be discharged until she's released from prison and exhausts appeals of her criminal convictions.

The former intelligence analyst was sentenced in August to 35 years for leaking battlefield video and hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and State Department diplomatic cables while serving in Iraq.

- AP


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