'Here I am everyone!': Chelsea Manning shares first image of herself since leaving prison

Tareq Haddad
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Chelsea Manning, who has just been freed after serving seven years in jail for leaking diplomatic cables and military files, has released the first photo of herself as a transgender woman.

The 29-year-old had been pardoned after getting a 35-year sentence for publishing a trove of documents to WikiLeaks under the Espionage Act.

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Manning, who revealed she identified as a female since early childhood during her incarceration, had complained that the military prison did not provide her with any treatment for gender dysphoria. She would go on to survive two suicide attempts due to the distress she felt before being granted hormone therapy in 2015.

Now, after being handed clemency by former President Barack Obama and her release from Fort Leavenworth in Kansas on Wednesday (17 May), Manning has become a champion of the transgender movement, releasing an image of herself on her social media accounts.

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"Okay, so here I am everyone!" she said, as she revealed her new look to the world.

It was not previously clear whether Manning would embrace her spot in the limelight as a transgender woman, with her previous posts showing only a pair of Converse, a slice of pizza and a glass of Dom Perignon, but her latest picture seems to send the message that she is fully comfortable in her own skin.

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Manning can be seen with dark eyeliner, rouge lipstick and a low-cut top that revealed her chest. Although it is not clear where the photo was taken, it has been rumoured it was taken while filming a new documentary with filmmaker Tim Travers Hawkins titled "XY Chelsea".

Hawkins announced the documentary while at Cannes Festival and said he would be "filming with Chelsea later today as she walks free and begins to tell her story and reveal herself to the world in her journey through life beyond incarceration".

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