Chelsea Manning will be released from a military prison on May 17. The transgender U.S. Army Private can see her future as a woman. She can now see herself as a survivor who can be the person she is in the outside world.
Manning, who is a part of one of the biggest security breaches in American history, was sentenced to 35 years in prison after she had been convicted of leaking national security secrets. It was then-President Barack Obama who commuted her sentence just before he left office. According to U.S. President Donald Trump, Manning is an “ungrateful traitor.” Trump believes Obama should have never shortened her sentence in the first place. He thinks Manning should never be released from prison.
Chelsea Manning was responsible for leaking numerous documents and videos downloaded from intelligence databases. The secret disclosures included the video footage of a U.S. Apache helicopter attack in Iraq that killed two Reuters journalists. According to Manning’s lawyers, Vincent Ward and Nancy Hollander, Obama was wise enough to shorten Chelsea’s sentence. They believe Manning risked a lot to “disclose information that served the public interest.”
“Chelsea has already served the longest sentence of any whistleblower in the history of this country – it has been far too long, too severe, too draconian.”
According to a U.S. Army spokesperson, Manning is going to hold a position in the military. She will also be eligible for health coverage after her release even though she will remain unpaid. This is possible because her conviction is being appealed at the moment. If the appeal is unsuccessful, Manning will lose all her benefits and face a discharge from her duties.
In prison, Chelsea Manning became outspoken about LGBT rights and fought for hormone treatment. She is extremely pleased that she will now be able to complete her transition, according to her lawyer, Nancy Hollander. Manning, who was born as Bradley Manning, was not allowed to grow her hair in prison, even though she was given transition hormones. Manning will be released from a military prison at Fort Leavenworth. She has spent seven years in prison so far.
The 29-year-old soldier will virtually walk free on Wednesday. Earlier, she sent an emotional message to her supporters, who had been with her during her prison years. She started her fight as a transgender woman as she was kept in a male-only prison. After fighting a number of legal battles for her rights, she won the right to get transition hormones. However, she was still supposed to maintain male dress codes and hair length.
Chelsea Manning thanked her supporters and legal team for keeping her “alive” during the dark times of her life. She thanked former President Obama for shortening her sentence. Manning apparently faced extremely difficult times in prison. Times were often so difficult that she even considered killing herself.
Really wonderful interview with Chelsea Manning, and a great line by Snowden.https://t.co/A2zob8Yfyx pic.twitter.com/e5PDWmkcJu
— Hussain (@Chemzes) May 15, 2017
In her statement, Manning said that she has always dreamed of freedom, but she has never been allowed to completely imagine it. However, she will now have the opportunity to experience freedom with her friends and loved ones “after nearly seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my healthcare and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts,” the Guardian reported.
Chelsea Manning gets to walk free on Wednesday, but the question remains if she will have the “freedom” that she has been dreaming about so far.
Chelsea Manning receives VA benefits! I’ve heard it all, what no back pay? Who made this call? pic.twitter.com/GnOPirWAOP
— Rich (@8richard6) May 15, 2017
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]