BY JOHN MILBURN
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- An Army private convicted of providing classified documents to WikiLeaks won an initial victory Wednesday toward living as a woman when a Kansas judge granted a petition to change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.
The decision clears the way for official changes to Manning's military records, but does not compel the military to treat the soldier previously known as Bradley Edward Manning as a woman.
That includes not being moved from the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, where Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence, to a prison with a women's unit, or receiving the counseling and hormone treatment she seeks.
Manning wasn't present at the hearing before Leavenworth County District Judge David King, which lasted just about a minute, but issued a statement after the ruling calling it "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 must jump through hurdles every day just for being who we are," Manning said.