Saturday, April 21, 2012

Living While Black and Transgender

CeCe Macdonald is charged with second degree murder in Minnesota because she refused to be a victim of her own gender identity and race.

While CeCe, a black transgender woman, and her friends were walking one day on June 5 2011, she was harassed by a group of white men for wearing girl clothes; she and her friends were also called "faggots", "niggers," "chicks with dicks." Instead of accepting public harassment and insults as an inevitable part of being transgender in public, CeCe walked up to tell them she would not tolerate their hateful words. Subsequently, one of the women in the group smashed her glass into Cece's face. A fight broke out, and one of the men in the group was fatally stabbed and died. CeCe required 11 stitches to her cheeks; she is now in solitary confinement and standing trial for second degree murder.

It is not uncommon for trans women to be harassed in public. A video that went viral on the internet last year showed

CeCe’s blog, she wrote that "being African and Trans is an ultimate challenge.” As with many GLBT kids abandoned by their own family, Cece’s biological family did not support her. While self acceptance is a hard fought battle for any transgender person, this is especially true for transgender women of color, who must deal with the day to day reality of violence. In an annual report released by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence programs, transgender women make up 44 percent of the anti-LGBT murders in 2010. Transgender people of color are also almost 2.5 times as likely to experience discrimination as their white peers.  Even when transgender women survive from attacks, they were the least likely to report an attack because the authorities are overwhelming viewed as "indifferent, abusive or deterrent." a 22 year old transgender woman dragged by her hair and then beaten for using the women's restroom at a McDonald restaurant. Transgender people are often assaulted and killed for simply living their life. Prior to 2009, hate crimes committed against transgender people were not recognized in the U.S. (Allen Andrade of Colorado was the first U.S. man to be convicted of murder and a hate crime for killing a transgender teen in April, 2009.)

Despite her hardships, Cece is not ashamed of herself, and she paid a horrendous price for refusing to be victimized based her identity. Cece is an inspiring woman to me because she reminded me that we should never accept our own marginalization, or to stand down and accept having to live in fear. The road to justice might not be favorable for CeCe, but we must still walk through it together so justice will prevail for all of us.

You can visit this page to support CeCe and get updates on her case