Photograph by Annie Leibovitz
Stephanie Petit
August 10, 2017 11:12 AM

Chelsea Manning is feeling free.

The 29-year-old transgender soldier, who spent seven years in prison for leaking 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks, shared a photo of herself walking along the beach in a red one-piece bathing suit. The photo comes from feature on Manning in the September issue of Vogue.

“Guess this is what freedom looks like,” she captioned the image on Instagram.

The shot of Manning, who smiles as she runs her hands through her hair, was taken by veteran photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Chelsea Manning Instagram

RELATED VIDEO: Chelsea Manning Released from Prison After Seven Years for Leaking Government Secrets

 

The accompanying story for Vogue follows Manning as she nervously prepares to attend an after-party for the Lambda Literary Awards, an event that honors LGBTQ writers. As soon as she entered, she was greeted by admirers.

It’s a completely different scene than where she grew up in Oklahoma.

“I knew that I was different,” Manning tells Vogue. “I gravitated more toward playing house, but the teachers were always pushing me toward playing the more competitive games with the boys.”

She recalls, “I spent so much time wondering, What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I fit in?”

Manning, born Bradley Manning, served a portion of her original 35-year sentence for leaking classified documents. Shortly before finishing his second term as president, Barack Obama shortened the sentence for Manning.

“I appreciate the wonderful support that I have received from so many people across the world over these past years,” Manning said in an exclusive statement to ABC News at the time. “As I rebuild my life, I remind myself not to relive the past. 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.”

Manning confirmed that she identified as a woman just one day after her 2013 sentencing. She began her gender transition while in prison, although she had made appearances as a woman since as early as 2010.

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