A tweet on Chelsea Manning’s account declares she is “safe” and with friends after having posted a picture of her standing on the ledge of a tall building.
The transgender whistleblower who survived prison before her sentence was commuted by President Obama is now making a longshot run for U.S. Senate in Maryland. She tweeted the upsetting photo, which has since been deleted, late Sunday along with the message, “I’m sorry.”
Based on that and other disturbing messages, worried Twitter users speculated that Manning was about to kill herself. All the tweets have been deleted and are now replaced with this message:
** chelsea is safe. she is on the phone with friends, thanks everyone for your concern and please give her some space
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) May 28, 2018
Even as the suicidal messages were sent, they were not only replied to with concern and support, but also with transphobia. Some purposefully misgendered Manning, said you “shouldn’t mess with nature,” and encouraged her to jump. Many have condemned the hateful reaction.
When Manning announced her run for the Senate, the news was met with both congratulations and transphobia — something she contends with regularly. And suicide rates among transgender people are frighteningly high. A 2014 report from the Williams Institute found that 41 percent of transgender respondents had attempted to take their own lives, as compared to 4.6 percent of the general U.S. population.
Manning attempted suicide more than once while in prison. The first attempt came on her first day of solitary confinement, and she was punished with more solitary as a result.
Trans Lifeline can be reached at 877-565-8860. For LGBT youth (ages 24 and younger) contemplating suicide, the Trevor Project Lifeline can be reached at 1-866-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifelineat 1-800-273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.
Watch The Advocate’s most recent interview with Manning in March in which she talks about living a life where she feels the need to fight to survive.