Press Release posted at Trans Youth Support Network, Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis, MN –Early on the morning of June 5th, outside the Schooner Tavern on Lake Street, Chrishaun McDonald was verbally assaulted with racial slurs, sexual harassment, and transphobic and sexist attacks. When a larger brawl ensued, Ms. McDonald was hit in the face with a bottle. Her attacker ended up dead, and Ms. McDonald was taken to jail where she remains in solitary confinement. She has been charged with second degree murder. Ms. McDonald maintains her innocence, citing self-defense: “They were the ones who attacked us. It was evil what they called us.”
Ms. McDonald is a transgender woman. In the weeks since June 5th, media coverage and prosecutors have consistently referred to Ms. McDonald with incorrect (male) pronouns. Because Ms. McDonald is being held in a gender-segregated jail, the potential for abuse and mistreatment is high. In a phone interview from jail, Ms. McDonald described the treatment she’s receiving in solitary confinement: “They’ve got me in the hole, and they’re not giving me proper healthcare.”
When asked about her trial, Ms. McDonald said, “Everybody should just be treated like human beings, no matter who they are.”
Transgender women of colour face disproportionately high levels of violence and harrassment, and are pulled into prisons and jails at extraordinarily high rates. Over 30% are incarcerated every year, and once incarcerated, 38% are harassed, 15% are physically assaulted, and 7% are sexually assaulted. As a transgender woman of colour, she has doubts as to whether she will receive a fair trial. Those concerns are compounded by her inability to afford legal counsel.
Donations are being accepted at Support CeCe McDonald. Her bail currently stands at $100,000.