Chelsea Manning Reveals First Post-Prison Photo to the World

Beth Greenfield
Senior Editor
Chelsea Manning in a photo she posted to Instagram on Thursday. (Photo: Instagram/xychelsea87)

A day after posting her premiere photo to Instagram — of her black Converse-clad feet taking their first walk of freedom after her release from prison — Chelsea Manning added a Thursday post, which is a shot of herself as she now appears.

In the image, she’s wearing a low-cut black sweater and coral lipstick and has her blond hair in a pixie cut.


“OK, so here I am everyone!!” wrote Manning, who was imprisoned in 2013 for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, but whose 35-year sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama in January. Manning, who began her prison sentence as Bradley, came out as transgender just days after being sentenced. She transitioned and changed her name while incarcerated, although the military would not provide her with any treatment for her gender dysphoria, which she said led to extreme pain and stress; Manning twice attempted suicide while in prison.

Her lawyer, Chase Strangio of the ACLU, filed a lawsuit on her behalf in September 2014.

“Ultimately, we negotiated with the military, and Chelsea was provided with cosmetics, grooming items available to other women in custody, and hormone therapy,” Strangio told ABC News.

Before Thursday, which marked Manning’s public debut as Chelsea, the only photos available of her were those of her before the transition, as well as an undated image of Manning wearing a wig and makeup that was circulated by the U.S. Army.

Chelsea Manning in an undated image. (Photo: Uncredited/U.S. Army)

In between her first post of her sneakers and this most recent self-portrait, Manning has been keeping her 24,200 Instagram followers up on her other firsts — pizza…


followed by champagne…


Also on the day of her release from prison, at the Cannes Film Festival, London-based Pulse Films announced its upcoming documentary on Manning, XY Chelsea, directed by Tim Travers Hawkins and co-produced by Oscar winner Laura Poitras. The movie is set to begin filming this week.

“I appreciate the wonderful support that I have received from so many people across the world over these past years,” Manning told ABC News. “As I rebuild my life, I remind myself not to relive the past. The past will always affect me, and I will keep that in mind while remembering that how it played out is only my starting point, not my final destination.”

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