A Kansas judge has granted a request to formally change the name of the soldier convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks from Bradley Edward Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.
The former intelligence analyst is serving a 35-year prison sentence for passing classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website. Manning is serving the sentence at the Army prison Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
During a brief hearing Wednesday, Leavenworth County District Judge David King said he'd allow the name change. Manning did not appear in court and no one was in court to oppose the request.
The judge's decision clears the way for official changes to Manning's military records, but it would not compel the military to treat Manning as a woman. That includes transferring Manning to a prison with a woman's unit.
In court documents Manning said, "I identify as a female and feel uncomfortable with my current name as it is too masculine."
Manning also stated he's identified privately as a female since Feb. 2, 2010 and publicly since August 2013.
Manning has been diagnosed by at least two Army behavioral health specialists with gender identity disorder.
Leavenworth County courts administrator Stephen Crossland said name changes occur for a variety of reasons. If no objections are raised, the requests are generally approved, he said.
Manning followed the name-change requirements and paid the required costs associated with the name change. He filed the first paper work requesting to legally change his name in January.
"The judge signed an order granting the name change so it's now official," Crossland said. "There were no irregularity with the petition process so Judge King approved it."
After the name change became official Manning issued a statement saying, "Today is an exciting day." adding "Hopefully today's name change, while so meaningful to me personally, can also raise awareness of the fact that we trans people exist everywhere in America today."
Manning is still fighting for hormone replacement therapy. He's fighting from his prison cell at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks.
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