Stage with large screen with a black trans woman speaking and five black women in chairs below

Free CeCe screening

Community Pride’s third event was a screening of Laverne Cox and Jac Gares’ documentary, “Free CeCe!” The film is about the revolutionary prison abolitionist politics of CeCe McDonald, a black trans woman who was incarcerated into a men’s prison for acting in self-defense when experiencing fascist violence. The film was shown in the Beeler Gallery on Tuesday at 7pm and was followed by a panel discussion of four black trans activists with co-director of the festival, Dkéama Alexis, as the moderator.

A prominent theme in the documentary is how transmisogynoir, oppression of black trans women, is legalized in the police and prison systems. Cox and Gares highlight how there is no respite from violence and abuse as a trans woman of color. The film portrayed McDonald’s resistance to the state’s racist policies and the international support for her. The integral argument is that solidarity with black trans women means to reject respectability politics. There can be no trans liberation without prison abolition. McDonald skyped in after the screening to express her disgust at mainstream pride events and explain why she will not be celebrating Pride.

“So many people have lost touch with what Pride even means,” said McDonald, referencing the working class radicalism of the Stonewall riots that advocated for sex workers, homeless queer people, and especially for trans women of color. “When I think about Pride, I cannot think about corporatism.”

Joy Lafontaine, a visual political artist, Lauren DeLucci, an entrepreneur, Latoya Spencer, an actress and model, and Justice Harley, a socialist organizer, join McDonald on stage to discuss survival, community building, and black trans resistance. DeLucci is from Columbus and expressed her frustration at hearing racist and transphobic slurs in grocery stores and streets.

“Being a black trans woman is really scary,” said DeLucci. “We have to pick ourselves up, which is a hard thing to do every day.”

Community Pride events have begun by remembering the murdered black trans women this year and they’ve ended by highlighting that survival takes fighting for the most marginalized members of the communities to feel safe. McDonald hopes to keep creating spaces where black trans women have access to resources.

“I do believe that one day we will live in a world where black trans women are at the peak of greatness,” said McDonald. “Knowing about other struggles across the globe, humbles me.”

The “Community Pride 2019: Decades of Resistance Festival” on Saturday at Mayme Moore Park from noon to 8 p.m. is a positive step closer to the world of liberation from all oppressions. Cops and corporations are not welcome at the festival. Respectability politics is not welcome at the festival.