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Remember Brandy, Paige, & Deoni…Help Free Cece

In News stories, street harassment | on 05.01.12 | by | Comments ( 1 )

It’s an outrage how many cis-gender people harass and murder transgender individuals! Each November there is the Transgender Day of Remembrance to document these tragedies and to remember the victims. Recent murders include —

Last weekend in Oakland, California (Via the Daily Kos):

“37-year-old Brandy Martell was sitting behind the wheel of her car around 5:15 a.m. at when one or two men walked up and began a conversation. A witness told ABC7 the conversation was cordial, but then.. one of the men became angry and fired into the car right where Martell was sitting.”

Two weeks ago in Illinois (Via Chicago Phoenix):

“Paige Clay, 23, was found in an alley in the 4500 block of West Jackson Boulevard with a gunshot wound to the forehead…A Facebook event page has been started titled “JUSTICE FOR PAIGE“, which asks anyone with information about her death to notify authorities and activists at the TaskForce.”

In February in Washington DC, I attended the vigil for 22-year-old Deoni Jones who was stabbed in the cheek at a Metrobus stop in Washington, D.C., and died from the wound. During the vigil, someone released a bunch of balloons and called out names; each name and balloon signified a transgender person who’d been murdered in DC over the past few years.

While sadly it’s too late to save Brandy, Paige, or Deoni, it’ s not too late to try to save Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald who is on trial for murder when she was simply acting in self defense against a homophobic racist.

Via Minnesota Daily:

“Monday marked the beginning of Crishaun “CeCe” McDonald’s murder trial. For those who haven’t been following this case, McDonald is a 23-year-old, black, transgender woman who was harassed and attacked outside of a Minneapolis bar almost a year ago — her attempts to defend herself ended in the death of one of her attackers, Dean Schmitz.

Some of the details of what happened that night are fuzzy, but there is no doubt that McDonald and her friends were subjected to a slurry of homophobic, transphobic and racist taunts followed by a thrown bottle that sliced open McDonald’s cheek and caused a fight to break out. What happened after that will be officially decided in court, but McDonald would tell you that she pulled out a pair of scissors to defend herself from a hate crime. She maintains that when her middle-aged, white attacker (with a Swastika tattooed on his chest, no less) followed her away from the scuffle, he ended up running into her scissors and incurring a fatal wound.

Minnesota Public Radio’s recent coverage of the case focused on a debate that has become central to McDonald’s case: Should the hate crimes committed and attempted against McDonald be a consideration in her trial?”

There’s a Support Cece website where you can find out how to support and advocate for her. You can:

1 – Sign a petition asking that the charges against Cece be dropped

2 – Go to the trial (which started yesterday) to show your support if you’re in the Minneapolis area. The address is Hennepin County Government Plaza, 300 6th Street South, Minneapolis, MN.

3 – Send a letter to CeCe while she is in jail, and let her know she has a huge amount of community support and that we are all here for her. Click here for a mailing address and guidelines.

4 – Donate to her support fund.

Two days ago, Janet Mock delivered a keynote address at USC addressing hatecrimes and murders against transgender individuals. Via her site:

“Partial Text of Janet Mock’s Keynote Address
Copyright of Janet Mock, 2012

As little as a year ago, I never thought I’d be here in front of hundreds of people, proclaiming that I’m a transgender woman.

Yet long before coming out in the pages of Marie Claire….

Long before becoming an editor at the world’s top magazine….

Long before becoming the first person in my family to go to college, to get a masters degree, to move away from Hawaii and yes, the first to get a sex change…

I was just a curly-haired kid trying to find myself and trying to assert myself in this world.

Last week I met a young woman just like me. She was 23. She held jobs at Macys and Forever 21. She didn’t get the chance to go to college like we did. She didn’t have her family’s support like I did. She grew up a ward of the state and found solace in Chicago’s queer and ball communities.

I met her last week only because I came across her name and her beautiful brown face on a website, with a headline that read: “Paige Clay, 23-year-old Transgender Woman Found Shot in the Head.”

I didn’t shout or cry in anger when I saw her story. Instead, I found myself with this numbing sense. I was desensitized because I had read Paige’s story before. Over and over again. I had read it in LaShai McLean’s story and Agnes Torres Sulca’s story and Shelley Hilliard’s story and Deoni Jones’s story. These women’s murders have become the harsh reality girls like us face.

For trans women of color, these women’s murders are constant reminders that who we are falls so outside of the box of what society says is acceptable that our deaths and even our lives don’t matter. We are in effect disposable…

It’s so important that we all do our part to make sure that no one’s life is disposable and that these kinds of murders and injustices are not ignored, hushed up, or trivialized. Speak out against transphobia. Challenge people who think gender is rigid and that deviation is wrong/immoral/justifies violence. Speak out when people make comments like, “young ladies do x, y, z” or “real men do a, b, c.” We should all be free to try out and defy gender norms in whatever way we want, great or small, without facing judgment, hate, and violence. Gender is just a social construct. No one should be murdered or jailed for creating and living their own construct. Help free Cece.

UPDATE: (via Feministing)

“CeCe and her legal team plead accepted a plea agreement, and McDonald pled guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter in the second degree. Next month, she’ll be sentenced to 41 months in jail.

Supporters, unsurprisingly, are pointing to how CeCe was treated at almost every stage by the criminal justice system as evidence of systematic discrimination and mistreatment of transgender people and people of colour.

After the plea agreement was announced, Katie Burgess of the Trans Youth Support Network addressed a crowd of CeCe’s supporters at the courthouse:

“Over the past 10 months I have witnessed the legal system isolating and attacking another young trans woman of color in our community, CeCe McDonald. And over the past 10 months, I have also witnessed our community say very clearly, ‘You are not alone, CeCe! And we have had enough!’

“We know that this system is not designed to deliver justice to young trans women of color. We are going to continue to support CeCe as she goes through this process and continue to stand for justice for all trans people and people of color so that this is the last time a young trans woman of color has to go through this.”

You can write to CeCe as she’s in jail awaiting sentencing. Click here for her address, and for guidelines about what you can and can’t send her. And, if you’re in the Minneapolis area and want to show your support for her in person, you can come to her sentencing date. Supporters are encouraged to wear purple in solidarity on the day.”

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One Response


This is all so very sad. Thanks for keeping us informed.

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