CeCe McDonald was sentenced to 41 months in prison for fatally stabbing a man in an altercation with McDonald and her friends in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2011. McDonald said the assailants yelled racist and transphobic slurs and attacked her. She is currently making a documentary called FREE CeCe with Laverne Cox, who plays Sophia Burset on Orange Is the New Black.
McDonald speaks tonight at Seattle's Trans* Pride.
You were released in January after being incarcerated for 19 months. Are you angry about what happened to you?
I wouldn't say so much angry, because a part of me knows, given how the prison industrial complex works, that there was a high chance I wasn't going to win my case. It was more depressing than it was angering, because you want to believe in this society that there is equality for all, but that is not the case most of the time.
How should the T-word be used, if at all? Is it like the N-word?
There are so many words that people find offensive, and some words we use within our own cultural groups. If a group of trans women are together and they think that word is okay, then that's one thing. The way RuPaul was using it was more negative. "Shemale" and things like that perpetuate these ideas that trans women aren't women. We have to respect people on a level that is more enduring and understanding, because if people just see us as a joke, or use words to treat people like props or jokes, then that is how society will take us.