The Associated Press reports:
A Kansas judge granted a request Wednesday 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 WikiLeaks. Manning is serving the sentence at the Army prison on Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
Leavenworth County District Judge David King said he'd allow the name change during a court hearing that lasted about a minute. Manning didn't attend the hearing but issued a statement saying it was "an exciting day."
"Hopefully today's name change, while so meaningful to me personally, can also raise awareness of the fact that we (transgender) people exist everywhere in America today, and that we have must jump through hurdles every day just for being who we are," Manning said.
Today's decision is an important step in the right direction as it means Chelsea's military records will be brought up to date and no longer reflect her former name of Bradley, but it still does not require the military to treat Manning's gender identity with respect. Indeed, an army spokesman confirmed to the AP that they will continue holding Chelsea in a male-only prison facility, despite the fact that she is female.