Chelsea Manning says she would've been 'better' at military job if she was out as trans
On the day President Trump announced transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve with the U.S. military "in any capacity," Chelsea Manning found herself outside the White House.
She showed up at the "ground zero of the war on trans people" wearing a pink hat and black attire, and later publicly shaming Trump's military ban against transgender people as based in "bias and prejudice." Now, Manning has again opened up in a new Yahoo Beauty essay that reveals her thoughts on military culture and self-expression.
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Directly speaking to her military service and the culture of the armed services, Manning says she would have been "better" at her military job had she already come out as transgender.
"I loved my job and I took my military career very seriously," says Manning. "There’s this idea out there that, had I not been trans, the leaks and stuff would never have happened. But to my mind those are two completely separate things. Had I been out, I think I still would have been attracted to the military, but I would have been more comfortable and gotten along with people better. Being closeted often put me in situations where I couldn’t concentrate or even think straight."
"I loved my job, and had I been out, I think I would have been even better at it," Manning adds.
Manning also noted "private circles of conversation" that made her feel uncomfortable during her military time.
"They’d say ridiculous, raunchy things about women," Manning says. "I’d try to avoid those kinds of macho conversations because that’s inevitably what would come up. I’d get very, very distant."
As one of his last actions as commander in chief, former President Barack Obama pardoned Chelsea Manning's original sentence of 35 years for leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks. She left military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in May after spending seven years behind bars -- and has slowly begun telling her personal narrative ever since.