The 29-year-old transgender soldier, who spent seven years in prison for leaking 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks, wore a plaid dress as she rode down the parade route with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Manning also hopped in the grand marshal convertible with ACLU lawyer James Esseks and Gavin Grimm, the transgender teen from Virginia who sued his school district for refusing to grant him access the boys’ restroom.
The ACLU also tweeted a photo of a smiling Manning riding on their float, writing, “Happy first Pride March, Chelsea Manning!” (Manning later clarified in a tweet that this was not her first Pride March but the first that she attended since her release.)
Manning, born Bradley Manning, served seven years of her 35-year sentence. Shortly before finishing his 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. “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.”
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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.