Today our thoughts are with CeCe McDonald, who faced sentencing in Minneapolis at the Hennepin County Government Center this afternoon. CeCe, along with her friends were victims of a transphobic and racist attack during the summer in 2011, where one of her aggressors was fatally wounded. Sadly, these occurrences are harsh realities for trans communities of color.
Author and advocate Janet Mock posted on Twitter about her support and care for CeCe:
CeCe has had a continuing network of supporters that have showed unwavering solidarity since she was put into custody.
A global LGBT community and allies have rallied for support and collected over 18,000 signatures to date in a petition to the County Attorney requesting that the charges be dropped and the case be ruled self-defense.
Support CeCe urged supporters to attend the sentencing and wear purple, today: “Show the County Attorney, the judge, the prosecution and the media that CeCe’s supporters are still watching and still fighting for justice.”
Today CeCe was sentenced to 41 months in prison, the minimum sentence for second degree manslaughter in Minnesota.
The sentencing follows the May 2 hearing, where CeCe agreed to a plea bargain that reduced the charges. Originally, McDonald faced a felony murder charge, but during plea negotiations, was offered a reduced manslaughter charge. Under this plea, CeCe lost her right to self-defense. Details such as the attacker's swastika on his chest were also inadmissible evidence. Read more about the discussions during CeCe's plea hearing.
Roxanne Anderson, the Director of the MN Transgender Health Coalition and McDonald’s former employer, said, “Today was a shining example of how hate and fear result in racism and transphobia, and how those play out in the courts of our land. I hope people keep supporting CeCe in every way they can, including showing up to the Power to the People tent at Pride, which was created to squash this kind of racism and transphobia.”
The National Coalition for Anti-Violence Programs reports that 2011 saw the highest number of recorded anti-LGBT murders since 1998.
In the 2010 report, Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the US in 2011, out of hate crimes survivors, only 18% of those survivors were transgender. For transgender individuals, the fight for equality and recognition is critical. The trans community experiences violence at a disproportionate rate than other members of the LGBT community. The numbers are even higher for people of color and in some cases, people of color are twice as likely to receive discrimination and hate violence.
The report also notes: “Transphobia among law enforcement, whether it impacts the investigation of a transphobic hate crime, or is a motivator in police violence against transgender people is a critical issue for ensuring the safety for these communities.” It goes on to say, "Transgender people of color are more at risk for physical violence, more likely to experience barriers to reporting to law enforcement, and more likely to experience police violence. A staggering, 45% of transgender people are less likely to have their incidents classified as a hate violence."
Please visit Support CeCe to find updated information and continue to stay involved and make your voice heard as we all continue to advocate against transphobia and hate violence. Supporters are encouraged to send letters to CeCe to let her know she is in their thoughts.
If you see any problematic media coverage of CeCe's sentencing, please submit it to GLAAD at http://glaad.org/reportdefamation.