Chelsea Manning to give first TV interview to ABC’s Nightline
Recently freed trans whistleblower Chelsea Manning is to give her first television interview.
In one of his final acts as President, Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Pvt Chelsea Manning, who had been imprisoned in Fort Leavenworth military prison after leaking classified government documents concerning alleged war crimes and rights abuses via WikiLeaks.
Manning, who announced her transition to female in 2013, had been denied the right to transition behind bars, leading her to make several suicide attempts.
Manning will appear sometime in June on ABC’s Nightline.
The network has announced that the interview will take place and that it will be previewed across the network.
“I appreciate the wonderful support that I have received from so many people across the world over these past years,” ABC News quoted Manning as having said.
“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.”
Manning earlier in May released a new image of herself after being released from Fort Leavenworth, and shared images of herself eating pizza and drinking prosecco after her release.
Earlier in May it was announced by the US Army that Manning would remain on active duty, unpaid, with access to healthcare.
Before the sentence being commuted, Manning attempted to take her own life more than once.
She also carried out a hunger strike and sued the US Army because they would not allow her to transition behind bars.
The military finally allowed her to undergo gender treatment, but court documents indicated that some officials are still refusing to recognise her gender identity.
It was believed that Manning, who has been incarcerated for seven years, would lose her entitlement to gender reassignment health care as it was announced that she would receive a “dishonourable discharge”.
However a spokesperson for the Army, Dave Foster, also confirmed that she would remain active as her court-martial conviction is still under appeal.
“Pvt. Manning is statutorily entitled to medical care while on excess leave in an active duty status, pending final appellate review,” Foster said.
“For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea,” Manning said. “I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world.”
“Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine.
“Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after nearly seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my health care and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts,” she added.
Manning’s lawyer, Chase Strangio, added: “Like far too many people in prison, particularly transgender women, Chelsea Manning has had to survive unthinkable violence throughout the seven years of her incarceration.”
Manning has received hormone treatment for the past six years and has been deemed eligible for sex reassignment surgery funded by the government. However, if the appeal is lost then this benefit would be lost.
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