Chelsea Manning shared a touching photo on Instagram on Wednesday, the same day she was released from prison.
The simple photo features a shot of black Converse Chuck All-Stars and boasts the caption: “First steps of freedom!!”
First steps of freedom!! . . #chelseaisfree
A post shared by Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea87) on May 17, 2017 at 6:39am PDT
The photo, which received over 14,000 likes, was her first post on her brand new Instagram account.
To commemorate the whistle blower’s newfound freedom, the trans community and other supporters have been tweeting photos of their Chuck All-Stars alongside the hashtag #ChucksforChelsea.
My partner's next pair…#ChucksForChelsea pic.twitter.com/7HBJRqMTRP
— Brenna (@AstroTira) May 17, 2017
One of my heroes. I'm so glad she's free #ChucksForChelsea pic.twitter.com/evHyYvPZ8y
— Butch Fatale (@Yuri_Librarian) May 17, 2017
I'm not out yet, but still willing to share my #ChucksForChelsea. pic.twitter.com/RSdArwDBdY
— Sarah (@CareofSarah) May 18, 2017
Welcome back sister! @xychelsea #ChucksForChelsea #ChelseaManning #chelseaisfree #girlslikeus #LoveIsLove pic.twitter.com/rdk6slsfwx
— Brianna Westbrook (@BWestbrookAZ8) May 18, 2017
My son and me and our #ChucksForChelsea ! (His feet are almost as big as mine and hes only 8!) pic.twitter.com/iJOIEhROJb
— Caiti Weiser (@CaitiWeiser) May 17, 2017
Pre-transition #ChucksForChelsea @xychelsea pic.twitter.com/JrvMXNOfMh
— The FIR3F7Y (@FIR3F7Y) May 18, 2017
Was wearing sandals when I first heard about #ChucksforChelsea but now that I am home I can finally contribute! pic.twitter.com/yFo1JSO3c5
— SinDay (@vetenskapp) May 18, 2017
I might be in BoyMode at work just a leeeettle bit longer, but I can still wear my rad trans lady #ChucksForChelsea today! pic.twitter.com/B3UjRwiX47
— Allison Holt (@AllisonAsks) May 18, 2017
#chucksforchelsea me with two of my other trans friends love you!!! Coincidentally, we were all wearing Converse today pic.twitter.com/Tdvk5zST8m
— Oliver (@gaynewsie) May 18, 2017
Gonna be late for work, but why not? #ChucksforChelsea pic.twitter.com/xxt2QW8hLl
— Sometimes, Sex (@spiderrobotpig) May 18, 2017
In 2013, Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for providing WikiLeaks with secret military and diplomatic documents. The controversial move made some view Manning as a traitor, while others saw her as a hero.
The same year she was imprisoned, Manning came out as transgender, telling the world she identified as a woman named Chelsea, “request[ing] that … you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.”
Manning, who was also sentenced to a men’s military prison, experienced brutal conditions as a transgender woman.
She was initially denied access to hormone therapy drugs, was not allowed to grow out her hair despite doctors’ recommendations and was sentenced to solitary confinement.
While in prison, Manning attempted suicide twice.
In January, former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence before leaving office.
She now finally has the chance to live out her life as her chosen gender.
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