After 19 months in a men’s prison, transgendered woman, CeCe McDonald has been released! CeCe was sentenced to 41 months in prison after fatally stabbing a man (Dean Schmitz) who attacked her during a hate crime. Reports claim that McDonald will continue to be under the supervision of the Minnesota Department of Corrections until the completion of her 41-month sentence, according to Michael Friedman, executive director of the Legal Rights Center, which represented McDonald in court last year.
McDonald and a group of friends were walking near a grocery story late on the night of June 5, 2011, when they were allegedly accosted by a group of people shouting racist and transphobic comments at them. According to McDonald’s testimony, a fight broke out in which a bottle was smashed on her face and, ultimately, she stabbed Schmitz with scissors in what she said was an act of self-defense.
She was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and in May 2012, accepted a plea bargain with reduced charges of second-degree manslaughter. Throughout the case, supporters around the world rallied behind McDonald, calling her incarceration unjust and her placement in a men’s facility discriminatory.
Laverne Cox of “Orange is the New Black,” who is also an activist for LGBT rights, stood behind CeCe and was there for her the day of her release. Laverne fights against the dehumanization of prisoners of color and is developing a documentary on CeCe’s life, called “Free CeCe,” in order to heighten visibility and awareness surrounding McDonald’s case, her experiences while incarcerated in a men’s prison and the larger implications of her case for the transgender community.
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