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Former Oklahoma soldier Bradley Manning now legally Chelsea Manning

Manning transgender

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – Former Oklahoma soldier Bradley Manning is now legally Chelsea Manning; a Kansas judge granted the name change Wednesday.

Manning is serving a 35-year sentence at the Army prison in Ft. Leavenworth for leaking classified government documents to Wikileaks.

NBC News reported Manning wasn’t at the hearing but issued a statement saying today is “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 in the statement.

MORE: Get all the details on the case and trial here