Chelsea Manning has come a long way since 2010. Known as Bradley Manning at the time, the former Army private first class was charged with violating the Espionage Act.
The transgender activist Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 after leaking sensitive government information to WikiLeaks—the largest government leak in U.S. history. While serving time at Fort Leavenworth, she attempted suicide and went on a hunger strike until the military granted her request for gender-reassignment surgery. In 2015, outgoing president Barack Obama commuted her sentence. When the Obama administration announced its decision, Chase Strangio, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union representing Manning, seemed to hint at her ambitions: “We are all better off knowing that Chelsea Manning will walk out of prison a free woman, dedicated to making the world a better place and fighting for justice for so many,” he said.
Since leaving prison, Manning has become known for controversial tweets, often accompanied with a series of emojis and the hashtag #WeGotThis. Manning recently tweeted out the message “f—k the police” on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, along with the hashtag #DisarmThePolice.
What Manning planned to do with that chance was unclear until just last week, when she filed to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland. Manning would be challenging Maryland’s senior senator, Democrat Benjamin Cardin, who is currently serving a second term.
Manning has been a visible activist for LGBTQ rights and other causes since her release. She would become the first openly transgender member of Congress if elected to the Senate.
Danica Roem became the first openly transgender state legislator with her election win in Virginia in November.
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