Laverne Cox is working on documentary, FREE CECE, to bring African-American trans woman, CeCe McDonald's story to a larger audience and shed light on the culture of violence surrounding transphobia.
In June 2011, CeCe McDonald and her friends were walking to a grocery store in Minneapolis when a group of people began throwing racial and homophobic slurs at McDonald and her friends, resulting in a physical altercation. McDonald was injured and attacker Dean Schmitz killed in self-defense. McDonald was arrested as the aggressor and after the court refused to accept McDonald's assertions her actions were in self-defense, accepted a plea deal for an accidental stabbing death charge. She is now serving a 41-month jail sentence in a men's prison.
Told primarily through Cox's poignant interview with McDonald in prison, the film will use expert interviews, filmed illustrations and investigative journalistic techniques to tell McDonald's story, including the events that happened in 2011, her time in a men's prison, and the violence that affects many trans women of color. McDonald is expected to be released in 2014 and Cox plans to follow up and continue to share McDonald's survivor story.
Working collaboration with producer/director, Jacqueline Gares (GLAAD Media Award winning series IN THE LIFE), Laverne Cox shares her reason for supporting and getting involved with this project, "But for the grace of God I could be CeCe McDonald. CeCe’s case represents a long list of instances of violence against transgender women who are disproportionately trans women of color.”
'FREE CECE' is currently in production and welcomes donations here to support this important film and "confront the issue of transphobia and the culture of violence surrounding trans women of color."