In June, CeCe McDonald, a 23 year old, African-American transgender fashion student, was attacked in Minneapolis while heading to a grocery store with her friends. What started with racial and gender epithets from a group of two women and a man standing outside of a bar turned even more violent after McDonald told the trio, that she wouldn’t stand for the racist and transphobic slurs. According to the Advocate, one of the women yelled back, “I’ll take you on bitch”, and broke a beer mug on CeCe’s face, slicing open her salivary gland. CeCe fought back and in the end, Dean Schmitz, a 47 year old man with a swastica tattooed on his chest bled to death after being stabbed with a pair of fabric scissors from McDonald’s purse. Although the stabbing was likely in self defense, it is not clear whether it was directly at the hands of McDonald or one of the friends who was accompanying her that evening.
McDonald, who was arrested, interrogated without council, and placed in solitary confinement facing second degree murder charges, has been described by a friend as “wise, outspoken, cheerful, and with a history of handeling predjudice with amazing grace”. Recently, the case garnered national media attention when author and activist, Kate Bornstein highlighted it during an appearance on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show.
An online community of support for McDonald and her defense has been growing. As of this post, an online petition, hosted by Change.org urging the Hennepin County Attorney, Michael Freeman, to drop the charges against McDonald has already received over 16,000 signatures. Leslie Feinberg has been drawing attention to the online call to #FreeCece through his Twitter feed and Free Cece, and Support Cece McDonald have been established by McDonald supporters to disseminate information about the case.
McDonald is set to go trial on Monday, April 30th at 9:00AM for an estimate of up to two weeks.