Chelsea Manning’s statement on her legal name change

How Chelsea Manning sees herself -portrait by Alicia Neal

How Chelsea Manning sees herself. Portrait by Alicia Neal, commissioned by the Chelsea Manning Support Network. Higher-res version available upon request.

April 23, 2014. By Chelsea Manning.

Today is an exciting day. A judge in the state of Kansas has officially ordered my name to be changed from “Bradley Edward Manning” to “Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.” I’ve been working for months for this change, and waiting for years.

It’s worth noting that in both mail and in-person, I’ve often been asked, “Why are you changing your name?” The answer couldn’t be simpler: because it’s a far better, richer, and more honest reflection of who I am and always have been –a woman named Chelsea.

But there is another question I’ve been asked nearly as much, “why are you making this request of the Leavenworth district court?” This is a more complicated question, but the short answer is simple: because I have to.

Unfortunately, the trans* community faces three major obstacles to living a normal life in America: identity documentation, gender segregated institutions, and access to healthcare. And I’ve only just jumped through the first one of these hurdles.

It’s the most banal things –such as showing an ID card, going to the bathroom, and receiving trans-related healthcare –that in our current society keep us from having the means to live better, more productive, and safer lives. Unfortunately, there are many laws and procedures that often don’t consider trans* people, or even outright prevent them from doing the sort of simple day-to-day things that others take for granted.

Now, I am waiting on the military to assist me in accessing healthcare. In August, I requested that the military provide me with a treatment plan consistent with the recognized professional standards of care for trans health. They quickly evaluated me and informed me that they came up with a proposed treatment plan. However, I have not seen yet seen their treatment plan, and in over eight months, I have not received any response as to whether the plan will be approved or disapproved, or whether it follows the guidelines of qualified health professionals.

Bl6m-qzCUAE21fl.png largeI’m optimistic that things can –and certainly will –change for the better.  There are so many people in America today that are willing and open to discuss trans-related issues. 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, and that we have must jump through hurdles every day just for being who we are. If I’m successful in obtaining access to trans healthcare, it will not only be something I have wanted for a long time myself, but it will also open the door for many people, both inside and outside the military, to request the right to live more open, fulfilled lives.

Thank you,

Chelsea Manning


*Note: Chelsea prefers “Trans*” (with an asterisk) to denote not only transgender men and women, but also those who identify outside of a gender binary.

For a better understanding of transgender people and the issues important to them, we recommend checking out GLAAD’s “Transgender 101” blog.

For instructions on writing to Chelsea to tell her of your support, please see our “Write Chelsea Manning” webpage.

30 thoughts on “Chelsea Manning’s statement on her legal name change

  1. Hi Chelsea. As a fellow Manning who could potentially be related to you, I have some advice. What you are doing is great. You are taking a stand for yourself, and for other trans*. To make yourself sound even more intelligent, and to get even more people to respect what you have to say, because it will make you sound intelligent, refer to the United States as the “U.S.”, not “America”. I am taking a class in Latin American history right now, and the term “America” literally actually means the United States, plus all 20 countries that are south of the United States border. I’m pretty sure that it not what you are referring to. So just as you would like people to properly refer to the trans* population, please properly refer to the demographic you are talking about, as it can be seen as offensive as well.

    Thank you and best of luck in jumping through these unfortunate obstacles to better live your life!

  2. This country owes Chelsea and her fellow whistleblowers a debt of gratitude and recompense.

    Her act of courage knowing potential punishment shows what real integrity and patriotism is. And her coming out as a woman mirrors that too!

    • All the loving support for Chelsea is so moving and encouraging!!

      May I suggest “her sister whistleblowers”?
      (Perhaps if enough of us do, more won’t take male designation as the only norm. “You guys” & “fellow” may not always be appropriate ~ certainly not for females! Chelsea is suffering for her human rights, and for Truth, so let’s honor that in the way we think & speak about her too.)

      Thank you.

  3. I will have to wait until school is out to send a snail mail to her. But yesterday, the 22nd of April, DC court issued my legal name change. So I was extra happy to see that hers came just a day after mine. This will be a great week!

  4. Good on you Chelsea. Happy that at least stage one is complete. 🙂
    Good luck for all future hoops and stages you need to hop/skip and jump through.

  5. Chelsea, thank you so much for all that you’ve done to help bring to light the realities of war and for continuing to use what tools are at your disposal to bring attention to trans* issues! You are an inspiration and a hero, THANK YOU!

  6. I totaly agree with Bill !
    She is a thrue heroin !
    The courage of that women is beyond belief .
    Nothing but respect !!!

  7. I think Chelsea is awesome, and we owe her a huge debt for doing right by us all. Wonderful news about the name change!

  8. From one courageous act to another, thank you Chelsea, for continuing to remind us all what being true to yourself really means, whatever the cost.

  9. I am so happy for you Chelsea! I know how much difficulty you have faced trying to become the real you. It’s nice to see the name change made.


  10. I am happy for you and hope being called your proper name helps you feel accepted, confident and more complete in who you are.Best wishesxo

  11. Not on my dime or on the dime of the American citizen. Chelsea was born a male and convicted in a military court as a male. And should now and til the end of her sentence be treated and cared for as a male. Then afterward do what she likes. I am all for her rights but not at our expense.

    • By your argument, I would no longer have to pay 50% of my federal taxes, because “not on my dime” should we be fielding a global imperial military. “Not on my dime” should Chelsea Manning be held in a military prison (24/7/365×35?=$$,$$$,$$$,$$$)–setting aside the argument of if she is a hero or not, she is not a threat to anyone nor any threat to violate additional related laws. But even on the “small picture” issue of Manning’s gender-related health care, Manning has gone on record as having offered to pay for her own hormone therapy.

  12. Congratulations, Chelsea.. all the way from Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. You have been a hero and you are being a hero again!

  13. Congratulations, Chelsea. Also, thank you for what you have done for the people of this country. You may not feel it at times, but your bravery is an inspiration for so many people both here and abroad. You are a beautiful person, and I don’t mean that just in the most basic physical sense. Your heart, your strength against insurmountable odds, your spirit are beautiful. I hope your path soon takes a turn for the better and you experience what it is to live as the person you’ve always felt you had to hide. Best wishes, and again, thank you.

  14. Dear Ms. Manning,

    Since I don’t know how to use social media, computers et, al. and can barely type I just saw TODAY that U had “favorited”” a tweet I wrote 2/15/11 on re YOU.

    Ms. Manning; I know that you are probably one of the bravest individuals I have ever heard of in my lifetime, and know history,(what’s left of human history) as Sapiens will be extinct or highly endangered sooner that anyone had imagined.)the correct side of history.

    You are and were the right woman do a “man’s job” and you have some ovaries my sweet young sister. I do “hope” for the best for you, but the system doesn’t admire sanity.

    Thank you Ms. Manning for all you have done, continue to do, and will do. Please take impeccable care of yourself!

    You are an incedibly special woman,, Please take care of yourself!

  15. I love Chelsea Manning. She is part of a dream world for me since I was little. All my life I dreamed that once a soldier is revealed against the injustices of war, and could achieve significant results while against crimes against humanity. Chelsea Elizabeth Manning succeeded. Thanks to this young woman, I could fulfill my dream, but many can now have a little more hope, as Julian Assange says, The World Tomorrow. Thanks Julian Assange and Chelsea Elizabeth Manning. You, Chelsea have honored my name, my name is Elizabeth, and nothing likes me more that you are called Elizabeth too.

  16. Hi Chelsea,
    As an TLGBQ activist, I know the heat you must be taking by the guards. I’m in total support of your transition.
    As a political Democrat activist, I am again in support of your whistle blowing on the US Government. You go girl. I hope you get a early release pardon by Obama.
    Brenda Louise

  17. Chelsea definitely wants everyone to see and hear her message, and wether she says United States or Amerixa everyone with ears needs to hear her message It doesn’t matter if they’re from Russia, Africa or Afghanistan, everyone needs to hear what Chelsea said. Your well wishes are noted but they seem incincere. Blessings.

  18. I am surprised that someone serving 35 years for espionage is entitled to a legal name change prior to serving that sentence.

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