More than $150,000 has been raised for Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the transgender woman incarcerated for the past seven years for leaking confidential documents.
Manning was released from the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks Wednesday morning. Her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama, who noted she had already served more time than other government leakers. Manning was imprisoned after providing more than 700,000 confidential documents pertaining to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts to WikiLeaks.
The GoFundMe account was created as a welcome home fund three months ago by one of Manning’s attorneys, Chase Strangio of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The photos that headline the account show Chelsea with short hair. Strangio wrote that many have complained Chelsea is not depicted with longer hair, but the photos were chosen to “capture the reality of her prison life.”
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“She prefers these photos. … She is forced to keep her hair short — a source of pain and trauma that we have been fighting in court for years. But she wants that to be visible and documented,” Strangio wrote.
The New York Times reported earlier this year that Manning was eventually permitted to wear female prison undergarments, receive speech therapy to feminize her tone and begin cross-sex hormone therapy. She also was allowed counseling sessions and treatment doctors for her gender dysphoria following a lawsuit filed by Strangio. Strangio is affiliated with the ACLU’s LGBT & AIDS Project.
As of Wednesday morning, 3,699 people have raised $153,536 for Manning. The money will be deposited into her bank account upon her release, according to the account. Funds will help her pay for rent, utilities, health care and other living expenses.
Strangio wrote that Manning endured solitary confinement, denial of health care as a transgender woman and separation from her family while incarcerated.
“For the first time in her life, Chelsea will have the opportunity to live freely as her authentic self, to grow her hair, engage with her friends, and build her own networks of love and support,” Strangio wrote. “We want her to have the tools to do that.”