MHP   |  January 19, 2014

The case of CeCe McDonald

Melissa Harris-Perry shares the story of trans woman CeCe McDonald, and how Laverne Cox drew inspiration from her for her role in “Orange is the New Black.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> here in nerdland, we have loved watching laverne cox in "orange is the new black," portraying a transgender prisoner named sofia verset. laverne brings humanity and complexity to the role, resisting the sort of glib and farcical manner in which trans people are often presented. she drew her inspiration for the role from a very specific source.

>> every day i showed up to work, i thought about c.c. mcdonald and the many trans women of color all across this nation, who are unfairly incarcera incarcerated. i am still furious, i'm angry that cc is in prison, simply for defending herself. but i'm so moved by her courage and leadership, even from behind bars.

>> cc mcdonald is an african-american trance woman, who along with a group of friends, was verbally attacked late one night by a group of white people who shouted racist, anti-gay, and anti-trans slurs. one of the woman slashed a glass across cc's face, leaving a cut that required 12 stitches. in the ensuing fight, cc stabbed one of the men in the group in the chest with a pair of scissors. he died. and cc was arrested, charged with murder, and accepted a deal in which she pled guilty to second-degree manslaughter and received a 41-month sentence. she served 19 months of that sentence, getting time off for good behavior and time served before her sentencing. she served time in a men's prison, and during her sentencing hearing, cc explained that on the night of the attack, she saw a racist, transphobic, narcissistic bigot who did not have any regard for my friends or me. that is not what she saw when she left prison on monday. because waiting to greet cc was a group of friends and supporters, including laverne cox, who's working on a documentary about cece. and when we come back, both laverne and cece are with