According to reports, Manning had to follow male grooming standards while behind bars. Now, she's ready to grow her hair out, her attorney, American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Chase Strangio, shared.
"She has experienced trauma over the past seven years of her confinement and the trauma from those experiences won't just evaporate the day she walks out of prison," Strangio said.
"It's going be a process for her to heal and begin to live her free life with more autonomy over her gender and her decisions and vision for the future."
Meanwhile, Manning debuted herself in a now deleted Instagram post, captioning a photo of her feet: "First steps of freedom!! #chelseaisfree"
"After another anxious four months of waiting, the day has finally arrived," Manning said in a statement following her release. "I am looking forward to so much! Whatever is ahead of me is far more important than the past. I'm figuring things out right now — which is exciting, awkward, fun, and all new for me."
But that doesn't mean Manning isn't sorry for her actions.
Indeed, Manning has repeatedly expressed remorse for her crimes, writing in her commutation application, "I take full and complete responsibility for my decision to disclose these materials to the public. I have never made any excuses for what I did. I pleaded guilty without the protection of a plea agreement because I believed the military justice system would understand my motivation for the disclosure and sentence me fairly. I was wrong."
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