The case of Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald, a 23-year-old African-American transgender woman who was attacked outside a bar in South Minneapolis, highlights both the abuse experienced as a way of life by many trans people and the all-too-prevalent official neglect they experience.
On June 5, 2011 CeCe, then a student studying fashion design at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, was walking to a grocery store with a group of LGBT African-American friends around 12:30 AM. As they passed a bar, the Schooner Tavern, they were spotted by a group of four older white bar patrons that appears to have been a group of white supremacists. This group included Dean Schmitz and Molly Flaherty. The group began hurling vicious racist and homophobic abuse at CeCe and her friends. CeCe approached them and told them that her group would not accept hate speech. Molly Flaherty said, “I’ll take you bitches on” and smashed a beer glass into CeCe’s face. She punctured CeCe’s cheek all the way though, lacerating her salivary gland.
CeCe said she tried to escape from the scene to get help for her injury and made it to a nearby intersection. Schmitz chased after her, and CeCe took scissors out of her purse to defend herself. CeCe claimed that Schmitz pulled CeCe towards himself. In the fight that followed, Schmitz (the attacker) ended up with the scissor in his chest. He later died from his wounds in the hospital.
When the police arrived, CeCe was the only person arrested, charged with two counts of second-degree murder. She was subsequently subjected to abusive treatment while in police custody. She was briefly taken to the hospital where she received 11 stitches in her cheek. She was left alone for hours and then interrogated. CeCe had to wait almost two months in prison for further medical treatment, during which time her cheek swelled into an extremely painful lump, creating headaches and pressure on her left eye and ear. CeCe was bailed out in October of 2011 on conditional release but was rearrested for an alleged violation of parole. Molly Flaherty, the woman who first assaulted CeCe, was not arrested or charged with anything.