Chelsea Manning poses for Vogue magazine in red swimsuit
Chelsea Manning has only been out of prison for a short time, but she’s already made a splash.
The trans soldier spent seven years behind bars for leaking 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks.
Now she is out of prison – thanks to President Obama’s pardon – and making the most of her new found freedom.
Manning posted a photo of herself in a red bathing suit to Instagram.
The image of her strutting down the beach, veteran photographer Annie Leibovitz, is taken from the September issue of Vogue.
“Guess this is what freedom looks like,” she captioned the image on Instagram.
The magazine followed the trans activist as she prepared for the Lambda Literary Awards, which honours LGBT writers.
“I knew that I was different,” Manning tells Vogue.
“I gravitated more toward playing house, but the teachers were always pushing me toward playing the more competitive games with the boys.”
She continues: “I spent so much time wondering, What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I fit in?”
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 told ABC News.
“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.”
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The 29-year-old added: “We’re getting all this information from all these different sources and it’s just death, destruction, mayhem.
“We’re filtering it all through facts, statistics, reports, dates, times, locations, and eventually, you just stop.
“I stopped seeing just statistics and information, and I started seeing people.”
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”.