President Obama's Commutation of Chelsea Manning's Sentence Most Likely Saved Her Life

President Obama today commuted most of Chelsea Manning’s remaining sentence for disclosing classified information about the impact of America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on innocent civilians. This is an important development both for government transparency and for transgender rights.  

With today’s clemency order, she will be released in May 2017 after having served seven years in prison. This isn’t a pardon. Chelsea pled guilty and will face the consequences for many of the charges against her. But the military sentenced her to 35 years in prison, a longer sentence than anyone else in U.S. history has received for disclosing information to the news media.  

Chelsea's imprisonment was made far harder by the fact that she is a woman serving a sentence in a men’s prison. For years during her incarceration, the military denied Chelsea treatment for her gender dysphoria, despite having diagnosed her with that condition soon after her arrest in 2010.  The ACLU brought suit for Chelsea back in 2014, seeking access to hormone therapy and to the clothing and grooming standards that all other female military prisoners are subject to. The litigation succeeded in getting her hormones as well as women’s undergarments. But the military continues to prohibit her from growing her hair long, though it did agree last fall to evaluate her for transition-related surgery.  

The president’s decision comes after an outpouring of support for Manning since her extraordinary sentence and the ongoing mistreatment throughout her incarceration. In December, the ACLU and over a dozen other LGBT groups sent a letter to President Obama urging him to grant clemency to Manning, and an official White House petition with the same request secured over 100,000 signatures.

President Obama’s action today most likely saved Chelsea’s life. Struggling with the challenge of being a woman in a men’s prison, Chelsea attempted suicide twice in 2016. Allowing Chelsea to start living her life as her genuine self, after having served a quite serious sentence, shows that President Obama understands the meaning of clemency.  

View comments (14)
Read the Terms of Use

Robert Riversong

Bradley Manning is not "a woman in a men's prison". He's a gay male (he came out to a friend when he was 13), who had horrible parental role models, suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome, was bullied most of his life, and joined the military to try to "resolve his gender identity disorder".

"Sex change is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder."

– Dr. Paul R. McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles

"Many both in and out of the mental health community see the conviction of oneself as 'transgender' as a delusion – a technical term referring to a fixed belief that is not amenable to change in light of conflicting evidence. The larger community should not accommodate this delusion by pretending to accept it as reality. A deluded person is not 'treated' by requiring everyone who encounters him to accept the validity of his or her delusion, contrary to all reality."

"Let us be clear: there is no such thing as 'sex-reassignment' surgery. A mutilated male pumped full of estrogen remains just that – a mutilated male pumped full of estrogen. He has not 'transitioned' into being a woman. He can never be a woman."

– Margaret A. Hagen, JD, PhD, professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University


Say that to her face.


This sure seems to matter to you an awful lot


Have you been collecting these? To convince who?


Man and woman are social constructs, "sex" is an act and your binary body classification system is objectively wrong and proven by other actual science your ideology-driven pet "scientists" refuse to accept.

And by psychiatry you mean that pseudoscience who attracts sadists who run dungeons that have "treated" (tortured) countless people with "mental conditions" such as "hysteria" historically?

You want to talk science, you'll have to do far better than cite a single source from a field that has been discredited as a whole for decades.


We all know you're secretly trans too ;)


Once again, this is a crock of crap. Guilty is guilty, and who will be paying for the surgery, the tax payers? This is another over step by groups and Obama, are we going to pardon anyone else who is having a transgender "crisis"???? Only in the US do we condone such behavior and circumvent justice....guilty, guilty, guilty.


Just because you don't understand, don't know the details, and have never suffered gender dysphoria, doesn't mean you opinion is the correct one.


Wait. Did I say, "crock of crap?" I'm so sorry. I forgot to take my medication. I apologize for my hateful comments.

I hope the makes it much less easy for people with my sort of issues to leave comments. We clearly need moderation or no comment at all on this wonderful site!


What are you even talking about?


Stay Informed