CeCe McDonald, the 26-year-old woman who became a figurehead for trans activists after being convicted for manslaughter, was released from prison on Monday, ABC News reported.
McDonald was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for killing 47-year-old Dean Schmitz following a June 2011 confrontation outside a Minneapolis bar. Witnesses said a group of patrons, including Schmitz, shouted racist and transphobic slurs at McDonald and a group of her friends. The incident turned into a brawl, during which McDonald was slashed in the face with a broken glass. During the fight, McDonald stabbed and killed Schmitz with a pair of scissors
“Cece is one of the brave voices of our generation. She stood up to and defended herself against racism and transphobia only to be sent to prison for it. Her case cast a national spotlight and sparked long overdue conversations about the disproportionately unfair treatment of transgender women within the criminal justice system,” Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation spokesperson Tiq Milan said in a statement on Monday. “Her imprisonment was unjust, and we continue to stand with her as she moves forward from this heartbreaking journey.”
Activists successfully lobbied the Minnesota Department of Corrections to provide McDonald with hormone therapy to complete McDonald’s gender reassignment. In a common state practice, McDonald will complete the last few months of her sentence on parole. She was met outside by a group of supporters that included Roxanne Anderson, program director for the Trans Youth Support Network.
“CeCe is doing great,” Anderson was quoted as saying. “She looks good and She is good spirits.”
McDonald was also met by Laverne Cox, a trans actress currently starring in the series Orange Is The New Black. Cox posted a picture on Twitter of herself alongside a smiling McDonald and is producing a documentary, Free CeCe, covering her trial and incarceration, as well as violence against trans women in general.
[Image via “Free Cece” Facebook fan page]