There is a massive sense of hope that I have received recently with the events surroundingthe Cece McDonald case. If you have not been following the case, I will do a brief explanation with a link to the site here. In 2011, Cece, while walking to the grocery store, was verbally and physically attacked by a group of white people. During the struggle, Cece received a punctured cheek, and one guy was fatally stabbed. Cece was arrested and put in a men's prison. She was charged with second-degree murder and took a plea agreement of second degree manslaughter. Cece was released from prison on January 13, 2014 and will serve the remainder of her 41-month sentence on parole.
What I want to move to is the interview that Cece McDonald, Laverne Cox, Katie Burgess and Rea Carey had on MSNBC with Melissa Harris-Perry, which can be watched here. While I was very sad that Cece did not get very much talk time, I was in love with the conversations that happened. I loved that Melissa gave Cece the floor to talk about whatever she wanted to. In the conversation, Laverne Cox brought to the viewers attention the harsh statistics that exist for transwomen in our society and pulled in institutionalized oppression. Rea Carey pushed us to talk about the need for better policies and responsibility for following through with them. Katie Burgress brought us to prisons, by paraphrasing Cece and talking about the harsh realities of incarceration. In the five minutes that these wonderful women had, they spoke about many issues that are typically swept under the rug.
I am in love with the conversation and the brevity that came from both sides of it. I was shocked to see a story like that, which called into question the oppressions that trans* people, especially trans* people of color, on national television. Out of this interview came a ray of hope for me and inspiration. While I believe that Cece should have never been put in prison, seeing her out, speaking about her experiences, and having them shown on television gives me confidence in the future. Transfolk are here, and we will be heard. There is visibility happening, people are learning, and the cogs are moving, and that makes me optimistic and about the future.