Transgender woman and Army Intelligence Analyst Chelsea Manning was released from Fort Leavenworth disciplinary barracks in Kansas on Wednesday.
Manning was convicted for leaking classified government documents and videos to WikiLeaks in 2010. She has spent the last 7 years serving at Fort Leavenworth’s men’s military prison despite coming out as a transgender woman. Her 35-year sentence was the longest ever imposed for someone convicted of leaking government information. Manning’s story became one of national interest as it sparked debate over the treatment of transgender people serving prison time.
With the help of the American civil Liberties Union, Manning was able to finally receive treatment for her gender dysphoria in 2015. President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in January, as he concluded she had served enough time for her crimes. Despite her release, her story has been one of controversy in both military circles and the transgender community.
Upon her release, Manning released the following statement through the ACLU:
“After another anxious four months of waiting, the day has finally arrived. I am looking forward to so much! Whatever is ahead of me is far more important than the past. I’m figuring things out right now — which is exciting, awkward, fun, and all new for me.” – Chelsea Manning
Manning also took to social media, releasing her first photo as her true self.
Manning and her attorneys have not yet released any information regarding her future plans.