— Chelsea Manning (@xychelsea) May 17, 2017
Former U.S. Army Intelligence Analyst Chelsea Manning left prison Wednesday morning, after serving seven years for leaking more than 700,000 classified documents while in Iraq. Manning was arrested in 2010 and sentenced in 2013. Originally set to serve a 35-year term, Manning received clemency from President Barack Obama, who commuted the sentence at the end of his presidency.
Formerly known as Bradley Manning, Chelsea came out as transgender after her conviction. Manning battled with the military over receiving hormone treatment while incarcerated. She eventually got the treatment after an ACLU-assisted lawsuit. Manning also went on a hunger strike in 2016 before the Army agreed to gender reassignment surgery.
Manning, who is appealing her court martial conviction, is still considered an active member of the military. As a result, she is still eligible for health benefits. At the same time, she must still follow military rules and procedures.
Manning tweeted upon her release, with an image of her feet and the comment, “First steps of freedom!!” In a separate statement, she said, “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.”