(CNN) -- "I am Chelsea Manning."
With those words, read from a statement on NBC's "Today" on Thursday, Bradley Manning immediately shifted public conversation away from the Army private's conviction on espionage charges to gender identity.
"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," Manning said in the statement. "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition."
While his supporters may back Manning, the Army said Thursday it won't.
"The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery," Lt. Col. Justin Platt told CNN Thursday.
One Army official who was not authorized to speak publicly on Manning's case said the private remains a male in the eyes of the Army. Another said Manning would be treated like any other prisoner.