by Free Britney at

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."

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