Top Quotes from Chelsea Manning

Suffrage is not a right afforded to everyone. Rather, voting is a privilege in the United States – and a hard-earned privilege at that.

Chelsea Manning

While universal suffrage remains an ideal yet to be attained, if you’re lucky enough to be able to vote, don’t let that privilege go to waste.

Chelsea Manning

The past will always affect me, and I will keep that in mind while remembering that how it played out is only my starting point, not my final destination.

Chelsea Manning

The one place I never felt at all comfortable in the military was in private circles of conversation. There’s a tendency, especially among young men, to objectify and denigrate women behind closed doors.

Chelsea Manning

Through every struggle that I have been confronted with and have been subjected to – solitary confinement, long legal battles, and physically transitioning to the woman I have always been – I manage not only to survive, but to grow, learn, mature, and thrive as a better, more confident person.

Chelsea Manning

In the years preceding my imprisonment, I worked as a software programmer, designing and developing web interfaces, secure databases, and communication software; later, I was employed as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army. Throughout each of these jobs, we used different kinds of encryption to keep prying eyes out of information we handled.

Chelsea Manning

As I rebuild my life, I remind myself not to relive the past.

Chelsea Manning

A doctor, a judge, or a piece of paper shouldn’t have the power to tell someone who he or she is. We should all have the absolute and inalienable right to define ourselves, in our own terms and in our own languages, and to be able to express our identity and perspectives without fear of consequences and retribution.

Chelsea Manning

I believe that when the public lacks even the most fundamental access to what its governments and militaries are doing in their names, then they cease to be involved in the act of citizenship.

Chelsea Manning

Though there are plenty of reasons to critique U.S. foreign policy and the way in which the U.S. military enacts it, serving your country has long been a way for economically marginalized Americans to get an economic step up – and could be for trans people as well.

Chelsea Manning

Shortly after arriving at a makeshift military jail at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in May 2010, I was placed into the black hole of solitary confinement for the first time.

Chelsea Manning

The people who are in the military work very hard, often for not much money, to make their country better and to protect their country. And I have nothing but respect for that.

Chelsea Manning

The military is diverse and large, and it’s public: it serves a public function; it serves a public duty.

Chelsea Manning

When I was a kid, I wanted to be in business or politics, like a CEO of a big corporation or a U.S. senator. There were also times I wanted to be an astronaut or a military officer. Yes, there were moments when I thought about doing this as a woman.

Chelsea Manning

By the time I enrolled in the military at 20, I had spent years in denial about who I really was. I was openly gay and would go through periods of cross-dressing, and had even thought about transitioning, but I was in such complete denial.

Chelsea Manning

There’s this idea out there that, had I not been trans, the leaks and stuff would never have happened. But to my mind, those are two completely separate things. Had I been out, I think I still would have been attracted to the military, but I would have been more comfortable and gotten along with people better.

Chelsea Manning

The fight for justice for the transgender community is largely invisible to our fellow citizens, despite the rampant systematic discrimination of trans people – those whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

Chelsea Manning

You start to forget about the world outside – it’s not relevant or relatable anymore. The darkest part of solitary confinement is that you start to forget about cars and jobs and families and weather and politicians – and all the things that make up a society.

Chelsea Manning

The U.S. needs legislation to protect the public’s right to free speech and a free press, to protect it from the actions of the executive branch, and to promote the integrity and transparency of the U.S. government.

Chelsea Manning

The evidence is overwhelming that it should be deemed as such: solitary confinement in the U.S. is arbitrary, abused, and unnecessary in many situations. It is cruel, degrading, and inhumane and is effectively a ‘no touch’ torture.

Chelsea Manning

Presenting myself and my gender is about my right to exist.

Chelsea Manning

On the night of 4 November 2008, Barack Obama was elected on a platform of ‘hope’ and ‘change.’ He was hailed as a ‘uniter’ in an age of ‘dividers.’ I experienced a political awakening that night. I watched as the hope that President Obama represented was tempered by the shocking passage of Proposition 8 by a majority of voters in California.

Chelsea Manning

We need to send a powerful message to the world in a unified voice: that we can fight for social justice for everyone, everywhere, and change the world, not just get married. We can continue to build our communities and address the root causes of queer and trans poverty and deaths.

Chelsea Manning

As outrageously counter-intuitive as this might seem, the most hardened terrorists and criminals are often extremely willing to brag about the terrible things they’ve done, the unlikely places that they have been hiding, the important people that they know and deal with, and the plans they have been working on for the future.

Chelsea Manning

I sometimes feel less than empty; I feel non-existent. Still, I endure. I refuse to give up.

Chelsea Manning

There is a difference between a consumer – who passively receives the information that they are spoon fed – and a citizen – who engages with society, asks questions, does research, and works towards making a difference in their neighborhood, city, and country.

Chelsea Manning

After years of hiding and holding off because of the trial, I finally announced my intent to change my name and transition to living as woman on 22 August 2013 – the day following my sentencing – a personal high point for me, despite my other circumstances.

Chelsea Manning

No one knows my gender more than I do. You do not know my gender better than I do. A doctor doesn’t know it better than I do. My parents don’t know it better than I do. No one experiences my gender in the way that I experience it.

Chelsea Manning

There is a difference between a consumer – who passively receives the information that they are spoon fed – and a citizen – who engages with society, asks questions, does research, and works towards making a difference in their neighborhood, city, and country.

Chelsea Manning

Owning my identity… ties into my value of dignity.

Chelsea Manning

Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine.

Chelsea Manning

I came out publicly as transgender and began hormone replacement therapy while in prison. When I was released, however, there was no quantifiable history of me existing as a transwoman. Credit and background checks automatically assumed I was committing fraud.

Chelsea Manning

Gender presentation should reflect the person that you are. When you lose control of your gender presentation, you lose an important aspect of your identity and existence.

Chelsea Manning

In 2010, the iPhone was only three years old, and many people still didn’t see smartphones as the indispensable digital appendages they are today. Seven years later, virtually everything we do causes us to bleed digital information, putting us at the mercy of invisible algorithms that threaten to consume our freedom.

Chelsea Manning

Privacy is not a luxury in America: it is a right – one that we need to defend in the digital realm as much as in the physical realm.

Chelsea Manning

Unfortunately, it seems to me that when it comes to issues affecting the trans community, most people who are cisgender – a word describing those people whose gender identity is in alignment with the sex they were assigned at birth – focus too much on the administrative, legal, and medical aspects of trans identity.

Chelsea Manning

We should all be able to live as human beings – and to be recognized as such by the societies we live in.

Chelsea Manning

In my experience, working as an intelligence analyst with my own pool of sources numbering close to 100, by far the most effective forms of human intelligence collection are rapport-building and direct questioning.

Chelsea Manning

I began to fear that I was forever going to be living in a hot desert cage, living as and being treated as a male, disappearing from the world into a secret prison, and never facing a public trial.

Chelsea Manning

Transgender folks have been part of the push for LGBT equality from the beginning, and we’ve spoken with loud and intelligent voices and have found political and personal success and advancement all over the world.

Chelsea Manning

We can work to get queer and trans people out of the prisons and jails and off the streets, and to improve our access to housing, education, employment and gender-confirming healthcare.

Chelsea Manning

Many queer and trans people live – and lived – in our prison and jails, in our homeless shelters, in run-down houses and apartment buildings, and on the corners of every major city. Marriage equality doesn’t help them; and the potential loss of momentum for trans/queer rights after this win could well hurt them.

Chelsea Manning

When I wanted to serve my country, I was forced to hide the most basic and human aspect of my life and my identity from the people to whom I was supposed to be the closest – and with whom I had to trust my life. I also had to hide from myself.

Chelsea Manning

By December 2009, I had come to terms with my gender identity just as I was deployed to Iraq.

Chelsea Manning

The U.S. intelligence community is in a very poor position to be trusted with protecting civil liberties while engaging in intelligence work.

Chelsea Manning

When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail; when you’re a skilled intelligence professional, everything looks like a vital source for collection.

Chelsea Manning

The leaders of ISIS are canny strategists with a solid understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the West.

Chelsea Manning

Having a birthday around the holidays was never easy and, with every successive year, it felt more and more as if celebrating my birthday got thrown into the December holiday mix as an afterthought.

Chelsea Manning

Prisons function by isolating those of us who are incarcerated from any means of support other than those charged with keeping us imprisoned: first, they physically isolate us from the outside world and those in it who love us; then they work to divide prisoners from one another by inculcating our distrust in one another.

Chelsea Manning

The insecurity that comes from being behind bars with, at best, imperfect oversight makes us all feel responsible only for ourselves. We end up either docile, apathetic, and unwilling to engage with each other, or hostile, angry, violent, and resentful.

Chelsea Manning

The unique problem for transgender women in prison is that our health and welfare are also the responsibility of those charged with overseeing us.

Chelsea Manning

I love being around people.

Chelsea Manning