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Chelsea Manning is a hero

By Meredith Aby

Minneapolis, MN – The anti-war movement sees Chelsea Manning as a hero for exposing the truth of the brutality of U.S. warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result of her bravery in releasing classified documents that exposed U.S. war crimes to WikiLeaks, on Aug. 21 Manning was sentenced to military prison for 35 years.

The day after her sentencing Manning performed yet another act of bravery. In a statement publicly thanking all those who supported her through her trial she also came out as transgender.

While many of us in the queer community have known for a while that Manning was a member of our community, this was the first time she publicly addressed this topic. With this act Manning expands the arena where she is a hero, providing inspiration to the LGBT community. I hope her struggle will bring more awareness to the cause of transgender people and transgender liberation. Free Chelsea Manning!

Please read the following statement from Chelsea Manning: The Next Stage of My Life

I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund, or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.

As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.

Thank you, Chelsea E. Manning

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