Chelsea Manning Is Free, but It’s Still Complicated

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Before he left office in January, Barack Obama commuted Chelsea Manning, which granted her an early release from prison. The army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking classified military documents in 2010 was released from prison on May 17 and began a civilian life for the first time since coming out as transgender. In June, she rode in the New York City Pride Parade and appeared on the cover of The New York Times magazine. But it hasn’t all been a hero’s welcome, even in the liberal circles that seemed to be embracing her; on Friday, Harvard’s Kennedy School, revoked its visiting-fellow invitation to Manning, two days after first extending it.

This announcement follows the news that Michael Morell, former deputy and acting director of the C.I.A., chose to resign from his post as a senior fellow at Harvard on Thursday because, he said, he cannot remain at an institution that “honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information, Ms. Chelsea Manning.”

On Friday, in a statement released on the Harvard Web site, Douglas W. Elmendorf, Dean of Harvard Kennedy School, announced that he was revoking Manning’s invitation.

“We invited Chelsea Manning to spend a day at the Kennedy School . . .
On that basis, we also named Chelsea Manning a Visiting Fellow. . . .
However, I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting
Fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility. I still think
that having her speak in the Forum and talk with students is
consistent with our longstanding approach, which puts great emphasis
on the value of hearing from a diverse collection of people. But I see
more clearly now that many people view a Visiting Fellow title as an
honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering
invitations. . . . Any determination should start with the presumption
that more speech is better than less. In retrospect, though, I think
my assessment of that balance for Chelsea Manning was wrong.”

Though Manning will no longer be a Visiting Fellow at the Kennedy School, other well-known (and notorious, in some circles) names remain on the list: Corey Lewandowski, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, who was accused of assaulting a reporter during the campaign, and Sean Spicer, the recently departed White House press secretary.

Manning is not staying silent on this recent controversy, tweeting out her disapproval. “So @harvard says @seanspicer & @Clewandowski_ bring ‘something to the table and add something to the conversation’ and not me.”

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Full ScreenPhotos:Transgender Troops React to Trump’s Ban

Brynn Tannehill

Rank/branch of military: Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy. In the reserves until July 1, 2017
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Proudest moment: “All the years of training and dedication came together for me in those moments where I was there for my shipmates when they needed me the most. They survived because we were there.”
Biggest misconception: “The idea that it’s too expensive to retain transgender service members is laughable to me. It costs more to replace two highly trained transgender service members than to provide health care for every last one of them.”

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

__Allyson Robinson__

Allyson Robinson

Rank/branch of military: Captain, U.S. Army
Hometown: Scranton, PA
Proudest moment: “Taking command of my first platoon after I graduated from West Point. Leading American soldiers is the single greatest honor I’ve ever received.”
Biggest misconception: “People often assume I joined the Army to ‘make a man out of myself.’ I didn’t. I joined the Army out of a sense of gratitude for all I’d been given by this country.”

Photo: Photograph by T.J. Kirkpatrick.

__Kristin Beck__

Kristin Beck

Rank/branch of military: Senior Chief, U.S. Navy SEALs
Hometown: Wellsville, NY
Proudest moment: “I saved the life of an Afghanistan man in the middle of chaos. I also saw him later on and was able to have tea with him.”
Biggest misconception: The idea that this is a new issue. “Transgender people have been serving since the Revolutionary war, and most of us don’t cost a thing.”

Photo: Photograph by T.J. Kirkpatrick.

__Blake Dremann__

Blake Dremann

Rank/branch of military: Active Duty Navy Lieutenant Commander
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Proudest moment: “The day I qualified in submarines and was pinned with my dolphins.”
Biggest misconception: “We are obsessed with transitioning and cannot function or do our jobs. Many transgender service members are at the top of their game and they only get better when they are allowed to transition.”

Photo: Photograph by T.J. Kirkpatrick.

__Laila Ireland__

Laila Ireland

Rank/branch of military: Retired Army Corporal, worked as a Health-care Management Administration Specialist
Hometown: Waipahu, HI
What is your proudest moment in the service? “Knowing that the solider was going to be able to go home to their family was and is always the most satisfying part of my career.”
What is the biggest misconception you’d like to correct? “The most common one in my opinion is that transgender people are incapable of fulfilling a duty because they are mentally unstable. In order to serve in these roles, you have to be mentally sound.”

Photo: Photograph by T.J. Kirkpatrick.

__Jacob Eleazer__

Jacob Eleazer

Rank/branch of military: Captain, Kentucky National Guard. Currently serving in the 198th Military Police Battalion as the Senior Human Resources Officer
Hometown: Lexington, KY
Proudest moment: “Being selected as T.A.C. (Teach, Assess, Counsel) officer of the year. It meant a lot to me to know that both my soldiers and command thought so well of my work, even as the Army was processing me for involuntary discharge due to being transgender.”
Biggest misconception: “That being transgender is the most important part of who we are. I am proud to be a transgender man, but when it comes down to it, I am a commissioned officer in the United States Army.”

Photo: Photograph by Jacob Roberts.

__Logan Ireland__

Logan Ireland

Rank/branch of military: Active Duty Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force
Hometown: Flower Mound, TX
Proudest moment: “To be fortunate enough to see the policy change for transgender military members like myself. To see my brothers and sisters no longer have to serve in silence is a humbling experience.”
Biggest misconception: “We only want to serve in the military to have our transitions paid for. At no point is my military service about me; it’s about those who came before me.”

Photo: Photographed by Matthew Mahon.

<strong>Brynn Tannehill</strong>

Brynn Tannehill

Rank/branch of military: Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy. In the reserves until July 1, 2017
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Proudest moment: “All the years of training and dedication came together for me in those moments where I was there for my shipmates when they needed me the most. They survived because we were there.”
Biggest misconception: “The idea that it’s too expensive to retain transgender service members is laughable to me. It costs more to replace two highly trained transgender service members than to provide health care for every last one of them.”

Photograph by Justin Bishop.

<strong>Allyson Robinson</strong>

Allyson Robinson

Rank/branch of military: Captain, U.S. Army
Hometown: Scranton, PA
Proudest moment: “Taking command of my first platoon after I graduated from West Point. Leading American soldiers is the single greatest honor I’ve ever received.”
Biggest misconception: “People often assume I joined the Army to ‘make a man out of myself.’ I didn’t. I joined the Army out of a sense of gratitude for all I’d been given by this country.”

Photograph by T.J. Kirkpatrick.

<strong>Kristin Beck</strong>

Kristin Beck

Rank/branch of military: Senior Chief, U.S. Navy SEALs
Hometown: Wellsville, NY
Proudest moment: “I saved the life of an Afghanistan man in the middle of chaos. I also saw him later on and was able to have tea with him.”
Biggest misconception: The idea that this is a new issue. “Transgender people have been serving since the Revolutionary war, and most of us don’t cost a thing.”

Photograph by T.J. Kirkpatrick.

<strong>Blake Dremann</strong>

Blake Dremann

Rank/branch of military: Active Duty Navy Lieutenant Commander
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Proudest moment: “The day I qualified in submarines and was pinned with my dolphins.”
Biggest misconception: “We are obsessed with transitioning and cannot function or do our jobs. Many transgender service members are at the top of their game and they only get better when they are allowed to transition.”

Photograph by T.J. Kirkpatrick.

<strong>Jennifer Long</strong>

Jennifer Long

Rank/branch of military: Army Sergeant Major, retired in 2012
Hometown: Jersey City, NJ
Proudest moment: “My service in Afghanistan in 2010–2011. I was awarded the French National Defense Medal, the first American to receive that medal since World War II.”
Biggest misconception: “Expensive, complicated surgeries would make them non-deployable or [reduce their] effectiveness.”

Photograph by Justin Bishop.

<strong>Sheri Swokowski</strong>

Sheri Swokowski

Rank/branch of military: Colonel, U.S. Army. Retired December 4, 2004, after 35 years of service.
Hometown: Manitowoc, WI
Proudest moment: “I was the first woman to (legitimately) wear an infantry uniform after my DD 214 was changed to reflect my authenticity. I wore that uniform at [a] Pentagon Pride Event and [the] White House Pride month reception in June 2015.”
Biggest misconception: “Some people, particularly the older generation, believe trans individuals are mentally ill. Being transgender is a medical condition, no different than someone suffering from diabetes or heart disease. All medical conditions are deserving of treatment.”

Photograph by Kevin Miyazaki.

<strong>Jennifer Peace</strong>

Jennifer Peace

Rank/branch of military: Active Duty Army Soldier, Intelligence Officer
Hometown: Houston, TX
Proudest moment: “The day I took command of a company. It was something I had given up hope on ever doing after deciding to transition, assuming that my career would be over.”
Biggest misconception: “I think what it all comes down to is this stereotype people have of who trans people are. Once you work with someone and know someone personally, it breaks those stereotypes down.”

Photograph by Robbie McClaran.

<strong>Laila Ireland</strong>

Laila Ireland

Rank/branch of military: Retired Army Corporal, worked as a Health-care Management Administration Specialist
Hometown: Waipahu, HI
What is your proudest moment in the service? “Knowing that the solider was going to be able to go home to their family was and is always the most satisfying part of my career.”
What is the biggest misconception you’d like to correct? “The most common one in my opinion is that transgender people are incapable of fulfilling a duty because they are mentally unstable. In order to serve in these roles, you have to be mentally sound.”

Photograph by T.J. Kirkpatrick.

<strong>Jacob Eleazer</strong>

Jacob Eleazer

Rank/branch of military: Captain, Kentucky National Guard. Currently serving in the 198th Military Police Battalion as the Senior Human Resources Officer
Hometown: Lexington, KY
Proudest moment: “Being selected as T.A.C. (Teach, Assess, Counsel) officer of the year. It meant a lot to me to know that both my soldiers and command thought so well of my work, even as the Army was processing me for involuntary discharge due to being transgender.”
Biggest misconception: “That being transgender is the most important part of who we are. I am proud to be a transgender man, but when it comes down to it, I am a commissioned officer in the United States Army.”

Photograph by Jacob Roberts.

<strong>Logan Ireland</strong>

Logan Ireland

Rank/branch of military: Active Duty Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force
Hometown: Flower Mound, TX
Proudest moment: “To be fortunate enough to see the policy change for transgender military members like myself. To see my brothers and sisters no longer have to serve in silence is a humbling experience.”
Biggest misconception: “We only want to serve in the military to have our transitions paid for. At no point is my military service about me; it’s about those who came before me.”

Photographed by Matthew Mahon.





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