Staff Writer cityXtra Magazine
Transgender former Army private Chelsea Manning is to run for the U.S. Senate.
According to federal election filings, Manning is to run for Senator in Maryland.
The activist and whistleblower was convicted of passing sensitive government documents to Wikileaks and spent seven years behind bars, before being pardoned by President Obama.
Manning is set to challenge sitting senator Ben Cardin, who has served two terms in the Senate.
He was first elected in 2007 and serves as a Democrat.
Senator Cardin is a strong supporter of LGBT rights.
After President Trump was inaugurated he called for action to protect LGBT rights.
He wrote: “I’ve now heard from constituents and activists that the State Department and White House websites have been scrubbed of LGBT content at the outset of the Trump Administration, including the recent apology former Secretary Kerry issued in response to my letter regarding the Department’s disturbing role in the McCarthy Era’s Lavender Scare – when approximately 1,000 dedicated civilians lost their jobs due to their perceived sexuality.
“This is alarming to me. I encourage the Administration to makes its public information portals reflective of all Americans and our values, and I will be monitoring this closely.
“We cannot and will not turn back the clock on the hard-fought civil rights of the LGBT community.”
Former military specialist Manning leaked more than 700,000 classified documents via WikiLeaks.
Manning was just 22 when she shared the US diplomatic correspondence, which included evidence of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, profiles of detainees at Guantanamo prison camp, and low-level battlefield reports.
“I’ve accepted responsibility for my own decisions and my own actions,” she said.
Manning says she wanted to go through traditional media routes, but it was not doable.
“I think it’s important to remember that when somebody sees government wrongdoing – whether it’s illegal or immoral or unethical – there isn’t the means available to do something about it.
“Everyone keeps saying, ‘You should have gone through the proper channels!
“But the proper channels don’t work.”
Manning says she technically tried to get the information out through the mainstream press – but opted to go through WikiLeaks after getting nervous about her short window of opportunity to release the information.
In early 2010 when she attempted to reach out to The Washington Post and The New York Times.
“I did this all on leave. I had only twelve days,” she said of that period, adding, “I ran out of time.”
The 29-year-old told ABC after being released: “I have a responsibility to the public … we all have a responsibility.
“Anything I’ve done, it’s me. There’s no one else. No one told me to do this.
“Nobody directed me to do this. This is me. It’s on me.”
Obama’s decision to commute Manning’s sentence – one of the last of his presidency – was credited by many commentators to years of campaigning from advocacy groups.