Transgender Activist: ‘Enjoying Womanhood’ After Release From Men’s Prison

CeCe McDonald told Fusion’s Alicia Menendez that she is doing “fantastic” and “enjoying life, enjoying womanhood” with friends and family just a couple of weeks after her release from prison.

McDonald, a transgender woman of color, spent 19 months in a Minnesota men’s prison after being sentenced for second-degree manslaughter. McDonald said she was defending herself during a racist and homophobic attack. The case drew national attention, but McDonald said she garnered very little support from national LGBT and civil rights organizations.

“Honestly, I haven’t felt like I had total support,” McDonald said. “I can say that I had complete support from the people within my community inside the Twin Cities…but larger organizations…really didn’t get involved.”

She also found it “unnerving,” she said, to be around certain police officers. While some were helpful and understanding, others were “bigoted” and “ignorant.”

“A lot of times people don’t know how to handle situations where people who are less conforming are accepted into society,” McDonald said, “so it’s harder for people to get involved with situations that bring attention to trans cases and things that involve trans and nonconforming identities.”