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ACLU and Others Petition President Obama to Grant Clemency to Chelsea Manning

The American Civil Liberties Union along with 16 other LGBT organizations sent a letter to President Obama on Monday, asking him to commute Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence.

By Transgender Universe

MS. MANNING IS THE LONGEST SERVING WHISTLEBLOWER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.”

Manning is a United States Army soldier who was convicted by court-martial in 2013 for violating the Espionage Act after she disclosed over 700,000 classified and sensitive military documents to WikiLeaks. She is currently serving her 7th year of a 35-year sentence while being forced to serve her time in an all-male prison, despite coming out as transgender a day after her sentencing.

“Ms. Manning is the longest serving whistleblower in the history of the United States. Granting her clemency petition will give Ms. Manning a first chance to live a real, meaningful life as the person she was born to be,” said ACLU Legislative Representative Ian Thompson. The letter states that Manning disclosed the information with the intention of “raising public awareness about issues she found concerning, including the impact of war on innocent civilians.”

The letter also states that Manning has been subjected to long periods of solitary confinement including a period when she attempted suicide, and that she has been denied necessary medical treatment related to her gender dysphoria. “While the armed forces have finally opened the door to transgender men and women who wish to serve, the government has continually fought Ms. Manning’s efforts to be treated with basic dignity,” the letter also states.

Though the letter acknowledges the fact that the group has differing opinions regarding Manning’s actions, they are united in their support for her clemency petition. Some transgender military veterans such as Kristin Beck have been outspoken in condemningManning’s actions, however they are supportive of her right to transition.

The following groups signed the letter:

American Civil Liberties Union

BiNet USA

COLAGE

Family Equality Council

FORGE, Inc.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders

Immigration Equality

KhushDC

Lambda Legal

League of United Latin American Citizens

Los Angeles LGBT Center

National Black Justice Coalition

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National LGBTQ Task Force

National Organization for Women

Pride at Work

Transgender Law Center

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