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No Justice for CeCe

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The Root
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May 15, 2012

A black transgender woman faces prison for killing her attacker. Her supporters call that a crime.

“I never thought I would make it past my 16th birthday. To grow up and have that thought at a young age is unsettling—the thought or feeling of knowing or expecting that today could be my last day on Earth, only because someone hates me for being the person I felt would make my life happiest.” --CeCe McDonald

In a matter of moments, on a warm summer night last June in St. Paul, Minn., what started out as an innocent trip to a grocery store for Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald and her friends quickly turned into a street brawl that would result in someone being killed. McDonald, a 23-year-old black transgender woman and college student, and a few of her friends (black people who variously identify as LGBT and straight) passed a local bar, where they encountered two white women and one white man. The man, Dean Schmitz, hurled racist, homophobic and transphobic epithets at the young group of color as they walked by.