A US Army spokesperson has confirmed that Chelsea Manning left Leavenworth Prison in Kansas. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison by court-martial in 2013 charged with espionage and 21 other offences, including stealing government property and a number of disobedience charges.
Manning was found guilty of was aiding the enemy “through indirect means” and could have received the death sentence for this charge alone, but ultimately received a 35-year prison sentence.
President Obama commuted Manning’s sentence to seven years total confinement in January 2017 including the three years Manning served before she stood trial.
Manning publicly came out as a transgender woman in August of 2013, the day after she was sentenced.
“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. 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.“
But the Army said they would continue to consider her as a man. Manning was kept in male prisons for the entire time but her legal name change was granted in April 2014 by the Kansas District Court.
She did not receive hormone replacement therapy or any treatment for her gender dysphoria until February 2015. In September of last year, the ACLU announced the army would grant Manning’s request for gender confirmation surgery. Manning attempted suicide twice during her prison sentence: once on July 5 2016 and on October 4 of that same year.
For the first attempt she was later sentenced to 14 days of solitary confinement, but was released after seven days. She also went on a five-day hunger strike in September 2016 out of protest over “being bullied” by prison authorities and the US government.
But today Chelsea Manning is a free woman.
(Photo, Flickr; via Gay Star News)