chelsea manning was luminous in her first pride march as a free woman
Manning says she was honoured to ride with the ACLU at New York pride.
Last Sunday, New York City's 5th Avenue was a force to be reckoned with. Dazzling and vibrant, an estimated 40,000 people marched and danced, colouring the 48th annual Gay Pride parade with equal parts celebration and political resistance. Among the colourful crowd was Chelsea Manning. Having had her sentence commuted by President Obama in his last days of office and released from prison in May, Chelsea is now free to be proudly herself.
It's not only her first march since she became a free woman, but also her first march since coming out as a transgender. Chelsea was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking US Military documents revealing American officers' complacency to torture and signalling civilian deaths during the Iraq war were likely higher than publicly acknowledged. Just a few days after her trial in 2013, Chelsea came out as transgender, and lived out her sentence fighting for her basic rights; female underwear, grooming items, and access to hormone therapy and gender confirmation surgery.
Amidst chants opposing Trump's agenda, calls for gun control in memory of the Orlando massacre, and demands for effective and inclusive healthcare, Chelsea Manning beamed from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) float, then saw out the parade's second leg with transgender activist Gavin Grimm. In a post-parade tweet, Manning stated that she was "honoured" to ride with the ACLU, and that she "lost her voice from screaming so much <3"
Thank you Chelsea, for fighting with light.
Text Meg Duncan
Image via @xyChelsea87