Transgender Woman CeCe McDonald Released From Prison

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
CeCe McDonald (right) with actress Laverne Cox

CeCe McDonald, a 26-year-old transgender woman who was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for manslaughter, was released Monday, ABC News reports.

McDonald didn't plan on becoming a figure for the transgender-activist community late one night in June 2011, when she and friends were leaving a Minneapolis bar and were confronted by ex-con Dean Schmitz.


Schmitz, 47, a member of a white supremacist gang, taunted McDonald with racist and homophobic slurs. A fight ensued and McDonald was slashed across the face by Schmitz's friend before she stabbed Schmitz to death with a pair of scissors, according to ABC News.

"I'm sure that to Dean's family, he was a loving, caring person," McDonald told the court at her sentencing hearing, ABC News reports via the Star Tribune. "But that is not what I saw that night. I saw a racist, transphobic, narcissistic bigot who did not have any regard for my friends and I."

McDonald served two-thirds of her sentence in a male prison, a standard procedure in Minnesota, and will serve the rest on parole.

The national transgender community was drawn to the case, believing that McDonald was unfairly prosecuted for defending herself because she is black and transgender, ABC News reports.


Transgender activist and actress Laverne Cox, who stars in the prison drama Orange Is the New Black, was among McDonald's biggest supporters and was even there to greet McDonald as she left the prison. According to ABC News, Cox plans to release a documentary entitled Free CeCe.

A petition led the state Department of Corrections to administer the full regimen of hormones McDonald needed even though she remained imprisoned with men.


"CeCe is doing great. She looks good and she is in good spirits," Roxanne Anderson—the program director for the Trans Youth Support Network, which was among the groups who picked up McDonald from prison—told ABC News.

Read more at ABC News.

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