Chelsea Manning was released on Wednesday, following a commutation of her sentence by President Barack Obama, one of his final acts before leaving office. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 for leaking government documents to Wikileaks.
At the time, it was considered an unusually long sentence, and many thought Manning was being used as a scapegoat. While in prison, Manning was frequently kept in solitary confinement and repeatedly went on hunger strikes to protest her treatment.
In particular, she was protesting the military’s refusal to provide her with hormone treatment. Manning is a trans woman, though that was not widely known during her trial. Few have ever seen Manning presenting in her gender orientation, until now. Following her release, she presented people with a slow burn reveal on Instagram, starting with just shoes taking some hesitant steps into the world, inspiring trans women everywhere to show their own Chucks in support:
Then she got a slice of pizza, which is probably the impulse of many recently freed prisoners after greeting their friends and family. She deserves more pepperoni, though:
Manning washed it down with some champagne, toasting to a new beginning:
Then showed the world exactly what she looks like now, a day into freedom:
Hello world, indeed. She’s sure got a knack for drawing out people’s interest, and those piercing blue eyes seal the deal. Welcome back, Chelsea.