Trans Hate Crime Victim Sentenced to Men’s Prison

CeCe McDonald, the transgendered woman charged with murder after defending herself against a transphobic attack, has been sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison – though she’s expected to be released within two years, with the credit for time already served and the presumption of good behavior.

This is nothing new for CeCe, who’s spent most of the past year in a men’s facility, despite living as and identifying as a woman. She’s spent part of that time in solitary confinement, which jail officials deemed necessary to protect her from other inmates. So while the ruling isn’t particularly surprising, it is disappointing. To add insult to injury, corrections officials are insisting on referring to CeCe using male pronouns when discussing the sentence.

The criminal justice system almost always categorizes inmates by their “birth” sex, regardless of how long they’ve lived as their desired gender, and usually without regard for any medical interventions short of full sex reassignment surgery. This is especially problematic given the high cost of SRS and the fact that many insurance programs don’t cover the cost of surgery or hormone treatments – if the individual has access to insurance coverage at all.

Trans women suffer a high rate of abuse and sexual assault when sentenced to men’s prisons – they’re 13 times more likely to be assaulted than members of the general population. For those who are interested, the documentary Cruel and Unusual explores this issue in detail. (Since this documentary includes personal narratives from women in the criminal justice system, some may find the personal descriptions of abuse disturbing.)

For details about supporting McDonald while she serves her sentence, check out Support CeCe McDonald. They have information on writing to CeCe and sending books for her to read in prison.

Related Stories:
Trans Woman “Punished for Surviving” Hate Crime
Minneapolis Trans Woman On Trial For Self-Defense From Hate Crime
Stand Your Ground’ Fails Abused Wife

Photo credit: Support CeCe McDonald

60 comments

Christine Stewart

It is not fair to send Cece to a men's prison where her life could be in danger.

Heather G.
Heather G.4 years ago

Robert K says "They are not women because they do not have a WOMB." So are women who've had hysterectomies NOT women anymore?? Of course not!! There's a whole lot more to being a woman than having a working uturus!!!

Meredith S.
Meredith S.4 years ago

You know what, Kath? The hate and ugliness you have in your heart can be seen in your face.

Beth K.
.4 years ago

Don't worry about Robert K, through his many posts, he has proven that he knows nothing about anything.

And asking him to get the facts, is like asking a zombie to go vegan - ain't gonna happen.

Jackson Z.
Jackson Z.4 years ago

Robert K.: I am not a "woman with a male prosthesis" and you know nothing about my life.

Kynthia R.
Kynthia Rosgeal4 years ago

Robert K, your ignorance speaks volumes about Cis gender privilege. You do speak without knowing all the facts. Transsexuals are born men or women, the bodies are incongruous with what their brains are. And yes, there are distinct differences between the two.

Before you decide to spout your ignorance and hatred on a subject why not take some time to actually learn the subject ? In the meantime STFU.

Robert K Pavlick
Robert Pavlick4 years ago

All crime aside, I don't know all the facts of this case; perhaps killing his assailant rather than immobilizing him was over the top, I don't really know.

My only point is that Transgender People need to realize that they are always going to be assigned to a men's room, or a men's dorm or a men's prison because THEY ARE NOT WOMEN. Most of them are just dressing up at best and have not even had an operation. Those who have had an operation are at best castrated and dismembered males who take estrogen treatments, they are not women and they never will be. They are not women because they do not have a WOMB. Some sources say that the etymology of the word: "woman" is Womb-Man. The same is true of Lesbians who want to be men. At best, they will be a woman with a male prosthesis; they will never be actual males.

Kath N.
Kath N.4 years ago

it should have got live in a mental institute

John B.
John B.4 years ago

Julie, thanks for the update. Disturbing story from the beginning, charged because she defended herself, convicted for standing her ground and now this. Transgender Advocacy must continue to educate the public and push for transgender equality.

Bridget N.
Bridget N.4 years ago

Welcome to america - where if u defend yourself from harm or attempted murder, u go to prison for self-defense - have a nice day.