By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) - A judge in Kansas on Wednesday ruled that former U.S. soldier Bradley Manning, who is serving 35 years in prison for turning over classified files to WikiLeaks, could change his name to reflect his desire to be treated as a woman.

Manning's name is legally changed to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, according to the decision handed down by Leavenworth County District Judge David King.

In a statement issued following the ruling, Manning said he hopes his actions help lead the military and other institutions to recognize the needs of transgendered individuals, including a need for specialized healthcare.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Chris Reese)