Cece McDonald, the trans woman who was imprisoned for stabbing a man who attacked her, is now free, after 19 months in a Minnesota corrections facility.
As Tony Merevick reports for Buzzfeed:
McDonald will continue to be under the supervision of the Minnesota Department of Corrections until the completion of her 41-month sentence, according to Michael Friedman, executive director of the Legal Rights Center, which represented McDonald in court last year.
She was released from the Minnesota Correctional Facility–St. Cloud around 8:30 a.m. CT, an official at the prison said.
McDonald's plight has been in the spotlight recently, thanks to Orange Is The New Black star Laverne Cox, who spoke out about mistreatment in prison on Melissa Harris-Perry's MSNBC show (trans people are often denied hormones while incarcerated) and is producing a documentary about McDonald.
In fact, a photo posted just a couple of hours ago on Facebook with the caption "we got our girl!" shows Cox in a car with the newly freed McDonald.
On Twitter, supporters are posting moving tributes with the hashtag #BecauseofCece. According to her official website, she'd like to create a scrapbook "documenting the worldwide support she's received."
A bit of background about McDonald's case: While she did plead guilty to second degree manslaughter charges in the death of a man named Dean Schmitz, she maintained that she acted in self-defense.
McDonald was walking past a local bar on June 5, 2011 when an altercation between her and Schmitz, in addition to other patrons, erupted on the sidewalk outside. According to various reports, McDonald — who was transitioning at the time — said she pulled out a pair of scissors in an attempt to defend herself after the group hurled a glass at her face, and taunted her and her friends with both anti-gay and racist epithets, including "faggots," "niggers" and "chicks with d*cks."
Schmitz, who allegedly had a swastika tattoo and was between the ages of 41 and 47 according to varied reports, died at the scene from a stab wound to his chest.
As Melanie Williams, writing for the Minnesota Daily put it, "[Schmitz's] attack […] was not just a random attack on one person's body, but an attack on an entire race and entire gender."
Apparently McDonald plans to release a public statement regarding her early release, but first she plans to spend some time "in privacy with people she feels close to." Well-deserved.
Images via Facebook.