Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified documents, says he will undergo hormone therapy to become a woman.
He says he identifies as female, wants to be known as Chelsea Manning and wishes to begin treatment immediately to change genders.
"I am Chelsea Manning. I am female," the U.S. Army private said in a statement read by his attorney, David Coombs, on NBC's Today show.
"Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. 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."
Coombs said Manning waited until now to announce his transition and future gender reassignment so as not to overshadow his criminal case.
Manning's gender identity disorder has been well documented, however.
At one point in his Army career, he confided his confusion over his gender to a supervisor and attached a photo of himself dressed as a woman.
Coombs said Thursday that he hopes the federal prison in Fort Leavenworth, Ks., will "do the right thing" and provide Manning with hormone therapy.
He will fight for that right, he says, if his client is denied it.
The goal of the change is not to be grouped with female inmates, Coombs added, but rather for Manning "to be comfortable in her own skin."