Vogue magazine’s cover girl next month is Chelsea Manning, the transgender and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst who leaked thousands of classified and unclassified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010.
Manning posted a photo of herself in a bathing suit to her social media accounts on Thursday with the caption: “Guess this is what freedom looks like.”
Manning has become a public figure following the leak of the government documents several years ago, as well as since she came out as transgender following then-his sentencing.
Manning leaked more than 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks because she believed she had a responsibility to the public, she told ABC in an interview earlier this year. She did not think releasing nearly three-quarters of a million documents would threaten national security.
The recent article in Vogue, titled “Chelsea Manning Changed the Course of History. Now She’s Focusing on Herself,” portrays Manning as a stylish hero.
However, to many people, Manning is an American traitor who does not deserve the spotlight or a public platform, let alone recognition.
One Twitter user said: “Vogue’s picture of Chelsea Manning in a bathing suit is repulsive. I don’t care about the transgender thing. Manning is a traitor, period.”
Another tweet read: “If Manning – who betrayed [U.S. Government] secrets to a Russian spy front – is your hero, you need to get help, stat.”
Manning was released from prison early after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence – the longest prison term given to an American leaker. Former President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence just days before he left office.
Manning, who entered an all-male military prison as “Bradley,” announced he was transgender immediately after his sentencing in 2013.
When the military denied Manning’s request for hormones, Manning tried to commit suicide twice. Manning will remain an unpaid active duty soldier who is eligible for health care and other benefits.