Community Rallies Around Chrishaun Mcdonald to Find Solutions to Violence Against Trans Women of Color
Court hearing is continued to July 11
Minneapolis, MN – Over fifty community members, friends, and family gathered in solidarity with Chrishaun Mcdonald, whose hearing in Hennepin County District Court was set for June 28th but was continued to July 11th. After packing the District courtroom, advocates called for a fair trial for Ms. Mcdonald at a press conference held outside the Government Center. Reporters were present from Kare 11 News, KSTP 5 Eyewitness News, The Star Tribune, The Minnesota Independent, City Pages, Colu.mn, and Lavender Magazine.
Ms. Mcdonald is an African American transgender woman who was attacked by a group of white adults while walking by the Schooner Tavern on Lake Street in South Minneapolis, early on the morning of June 5th. Patrons of the bar attacked Ms. Mcdonald and her friends with transphobic and racist slurs and bashed Ms. Mcdonald’s face with a glass beer mug. Despite the fact that Ms. Mcdonald was the victim of the hate crime and multiple people were involved in the altercation that led to the death of one of her attackers, only Ms. Mcdonald was charged. She is currently being held in solitary confinement for her “protection,” despite her requests to be moved to general population.
Calling for an end to violence against transgender women, advocates declared a need for fair trials and fair treatment under the law when hate crimes occur. Ms. Mcdonald’s experience with violence is far too common. Transgender women of color are murdered at a rate 16 times the national average; this is more than one murder per month nation-wide. On June 26th, around noon in North Minneapolis, yet another young African American/Puerto Rican transgender woman was attacked with a brick by a group of other African American youth.
Advocates called on judicial officials and correctional officers to respect Ms. Mcdonald as a transgender woman, give her access to necessary health care, and allow her to be housed in general population instead of solitary confinement. They called on the District Court to use correct (female) pronouns for Ms. Mcdonald, following suit with written opinions of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Minnesota appellate courts (see Goins v. W. Group, 635 N.W.2d 717 (Minn. 2001); Doe v. City of Minneapolis, No. C2-02-817 (Minn. Ct. App. December 17, 2002)).
Community members pledged to remain steadfast in their support for Mcdonald throughout the trial process. David Tomilson, friend of Ms. Mcdonald, announced, “We’re going to be here July 11, and we’re going to bring friends.”
Advocates urged anyone who wants to get involved to attend ongoing community meetings. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Paypal donations are also accepted at www.supportcece.wordpress.com/about/. Supporters are fundraising Ms. Mcdonald’s $150,000 bail.
Hate crimes tear communities apart and produce conflict in our neighborhoods. “We are here because we are all potentially victims of hate crimes,” Katie Burgess, executive director of the Trans Youth Support Network stated, “and we all deserve fair treatment under the law.”