One day after she was freed from military jail, Chelsea Manning uploaded the first photo of her on Twitter and Instagram revealing her new look as a woman.
“I appreciate the wonderful support that I have received from so many people across the world over these past years. As I rebuild my life, I remind myself not to relive the past. The past will always affect me and I will keep that in mind while remembering that how it played out is only my starting point, not my final destination,” Manning said.
Manning is a transgender soldier in the U.S. Army. She was in prison for a total of seven years at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. She was condemned by a military court under the Espionage and Computer Fraud and Abuse Acts and ruled to 35 years in jail for leaking around 750,000 documents to WikiLeaks.
At that time, Manning 22 years old. Manning then was an Army private and was still a man named Bradley Manning. The information she revealed included low level battleground reports from both Iraq and Afghanistan, proof of citizens deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as U.S. diplomatic correspondence and Guantanamo jail camp captive profiles.
Former US President, Barack Obama, reduced her sentence three days before he left office. Her sentence time was the longest compared to any mole in U.S. history.
The Military’s reaction to her transformation
Several days later, after Manning’s conviction, she transformed into a woman on August 22, 2013. Although, she was a transgender, the military still wouldn’t give her any treatment for her gender dysphoria which caused her escalation of distress. In September 2014, Chase Strangio, her lawyer, filed a lawsuit on behalf of her.
“Ultimately, we negotiated with the military and Chelsea was provided with cosmetics, grooming items available to other women in custody and hormone therapy,” Strangio stated.
However, in February 2015, the military started providing with gender treatment. Strangio then said that Manning became “the first military prisoner to receive health care related to gender transition and was part of a shift in practice that lead to the elimination of the ban on open trans service in the military.”