The woman serving time at Fort Leavenworth prison after being convicted of furnishing a wealth of classified documents to WikiLeaks says she will take her plea for gender reassignment surgery to court if necessary.
Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, told supporters in one of several letters to supporters posted online this week that her lawyer, David Coombs, is pushing for her to get the gender reassignment treatment while in prison. She reiterated that she wants to live as a woman and said Coombs is “assisting me in matters related to exhausting my administrative remedies and, if denied outright, in filing a writ before a court with jurisdiction.”
Manning said Coombs will continue to represent her as she seeks a legal name change from Bradley to Chelsea, a presidential pardon, and clemency when she comes before a parole board in 2019. She’s serving a 35-year sentence in the Kansas military prison.
In the letters, she also clarified confusion that arose when she published an open letter through the Guardian last month. In that letter, Manning expressed frustration at being awarded the Sean McBride Peace Award despite the fact that she rejects the “pacifist” label. Manning clarified that she had, in fact, been notified of the award, and reiterated that she was motivated to leak military secrets out of her commitment to transparency and the value of human life and human equality.