Who is Chelsea Manning?

Chelsea E. Manning is a former all-source intelligence analyst for the U.S. Defense Department. She writes extensively for The Guardian and on Medium about issues like transparency, free speech, civil liberties, queer and trans rights, and computer security, as well as her own life and experience. She also tweets regularly at @xychelsea.

Chelsea was born in Oklahoma City in 1987. She went to school in the UK from 2001 to 2005. She lived across the U.S. for two years, struggling to juggle work and school, and find stability. She then enlisted in the U.S. military during the Iraq troop “surge” in 2007. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 for nearly a year. She explains that she “was pretty hopeful we could still make a difference” in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring our troops home, and “protect the civilians” there.

Chelsea was in prison for seven years for disclosing military and diplomatic information to the public that, among other things, exposed the “true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare.” She came out as a trans woman in 2013, while serving in an all male prison at Fort Leavenworth Kansas. Her 35 year sentence was commuted by President Obama in 2017.

Chelsea lives in D.C. suburbs of Maryland, her home state.

You can learn more about Chelsea by listening to her Amnesty International podcast. Since the public is not allowed to hear a recording of Chelsea’s voice, she is “voiced” by actress Michelle Hendley: