Chelsea Manning celebrates New York Pride as a free woman
Chelsea Manning has celebrated her first pride parade as a free woman.
The US soldier, who was jailed for providing confidential documents to WikiLeaks, joined thousands in the streets of New York for the pride parade.
Manning was driven through the city’s streets in a red convertable sports car with other supporters.
She was at the LGBT celebration to represent The American Civil Liberties Unions (ACLU), a non-profit advocacy group who provided her legal representation.
Revellers around her held signs reading “resist” as the former prisoner waved and smiled at fans.
Manning later took to Twitter, writing: “honored to represent the @aclu at this years @NYCPrideMarch ???? lost my voice from screaming so much ❤️ thank you”
It comes just months after she was released from prison after being pardoned by President Barack Obama.
Manning was handed a 35-year jail sentence in 2013 for leaking 700,000 classified US army documents to WikiLeaks, but was released last month after President Barack Obama intervened to commute her sentence.
Speaking to ABC News following the release, Manning said: “I used to get these horrible feelings like I just wanted to rip my body apart and I don’t want to have to go through that experience again.”
“It was really, really awful,” she added.
Manning was just 22 when she shared the US diplomatic correspondence, which included evidence of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, profiles of detainees at Guantanamo prison camp, and low-level battlefield reports.
“I have a responsibility to the public … we all have a responsibility,” Manning said.
“Anything I’ve done, it’s me. There’s no one else. No one told me to do this.
“Nobody directed me to do this. This is me. It’s on me.”
Manning began her gender transition while still in prison, becoming the first military prisoner to receive gender transition treatment in prison, according to her ACLU lawyer.
President Obama’s decision to commute Manning’s sentence – one of the last of his presidency – was credited by many commentators to years of campaigning from advocacy groups.
The decision was criticised by then President Elect Donald Trump, who called Manning an “ungrateful traitor”.