April 11, 2012
Dear Mr. Freeman,
We write today to add our voices to the many groups and individuals who are advocating that charges against Ms. Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald be dropped.
As an organization we have heard thousands of stories like CeCe’s, in which transgender women of color are harassed and attacked simply for expressing their gender identity. Transgender women of color face extraordinarily high rates of violence as well as unfair and abusive treatment in the criminal justice system.
The report Injustice at Every Turn, published by National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that “the combination of anti-transgender bias and persistent structural and individual racism was especially devastating for Black transgender people and other people of color.”
The results included that a staggering 61% of all transgender people were victims of physical assault. 38% of Black transgender people who interacted with police reported harassment from officials, and 51% reported discomfort seeking police assistance.
CeCe’s story reflects a national trend of violence against transgender women of color. Your decision to pursue criminal charges against CeCe alone and not against the instigators of the attack against her only contributes to the perception that the criminal justice system offers no protection for transgender people in this country. We urge you to take into consideration the fact that CeCe was acting in self-defense in responding to a hateful and violent attack, and use your discretion to drop the charges against her.
Transgender Law Center