Locked in Military Prison, Chelsea Manning Speaks Out for Transgender People Everywhere

Chelsea Manning, the U.S. Army whistleblower who leaked some of the most explosive military and government documents of the post-9/11 era is not staying silent as she serves a 35-year sentence at the Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas for making those disclosures.

In a powerfully worded op-ed published on Monday in the Guardian, Manning speaks out for the transgender community which she says is too often misunderstood, ignored, and maligned. Though she joined the military identifying as a man and became famous throughout the world by her former name, U.S. Army Pvt. Bradley Maning, Chelsea has become—following her conviction in 2013—an outspoken champion of transgender rights.

“We are told, by the legal system and the military, that we don’t belong,” Manning writes in her essay on Monday. “It’s time for trans people like me to tell the world something different: we exist.”

Caught in an ongoing legal battle with her jailers (the U.S. government) over her medical treatment as a transgender woman while in custody, Manning describes how amid other fights for justice in the United States, the community of people who don’t identify with the gender they were assigned at birth have been painfully sidelined. She writes:

Offering background and recent developments in her case, the Guardian reports:

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