Chelsea Manning Tweets Photo From Hospital Bed After Gender Affirmation Surgery

Chelsea Manning, the former army private turned whistle-blower, has shared a photograph of herself recovering from gender affirmation surgery.

Manning tweeted a photograph of herself lying on a hospital bed to her 325,000 Twitter followers following the successful operation which she said came "after almost a decade of fighting—thru prison, the courts, a hunger strike, and thru the insurance company—I finally got surgery this week."

after almost a decade of fighting - thru prison, the courts, a hunger strike, and thru the insurance company - I finally got surgery this week ✨🎀💉🏥✨🌈💕 pic.twitter.com/I7WeIrR8jP

— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) October 20, 2018

The tweet was met with a largely positive responses from her followers and other supporters.

"I'm so proud of you," wrote Twitter user @maruchan1312. "You're an inspiration to me and a generation of activists and fighters for social justice."

"Congrats, Chelsea!!!," said @konsumnetin04. "Hope you will [recover] fast and well. I am so happy for you! Thanks for your service to mankind."

Manning later tweeted a link to a New York Times story reporting that Donald Trump's administration is taking steps to tighten the legal definition of gender as an "immutable condition" determined by genitalia at birth, which critics have argued is a move erase the recognition of transgender people.

"Laws don't determine our existence—*we* determine our existence—it's our weapon, our shelter, our energy, our healer, our truth—we will keep moving forward—we will keep fighting—existence is *our* only law," said Manning.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after leaking more than 700,000 classified documents to the WikiLeaks website. It included a video of a U.S. helicopter killing civilians, and was the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history.

Manning was convicted of a total of 20 charges, including espionage and theft, but acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. At the time, she was known as Bradley Manning before revealing herself to be transgender in 2013.

Having served seven years, she was released from military prison in May 2017 after her sentence was commuted by Barack Obama in one of his final acts as president.

Following her release, Manning said in a statement to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that "for the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea.

"I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine," she added.

"Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after nearly seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my health care and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts.

"I hope to take the lessons that I have learned, the love that I have been given, and the hope that I have to work toward making life better for others."