*Transgender actress Laverne Cox, who plays a transgender inmate in the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black,” is hoping to draw attention to the plight of a real life transgender woman in a new documentary.
Titled “Free CeCe,” Cox is producing the film with Jacqueline Gares in order to boost awareness of CeCe McDonald, a transgender woman of color serving a “41 month prison sentence for defending herself against a violent, racist and transphobic attack in Minnesota which resulted in the death of one of her attackers.”
“CeCe’s story is one that should have been covered more in the press. Trans women, particularly trans women of color, experience disproportionate amounts of violence and not enough is being done to eradicate that violence,” Cox said in an interview with “Persephone Magazine.”
“Free CeCe” will include Cox’s prison interview with McDonald at Minnesota’s St. Cloud Correctional Facility, along with backstory on the events leading up to the night of June 5, 2011, when the actions of CeCe and her friends resulted in the stabbing death of their alleged attacker, Dean Schmitz.
Meanwhile, Cox’s “Orange is the New Black” character Sophia Burset finds herself behind bars for credit-card fraud. Inside, she’s the resident hairdresser and is fighting for the right to maintain her life as a transgender woman. Outside, she has a son named Michael from his wife Crystal — who visits Sophia in jail and is still trying to understand the reality that her husband secretly yearned to live as a woman.
Below, Cox addresses critics of the show who say the Jenji Kohan-created series is full of predictable stereotypes.
Season 2 of “Orange is the New Black” will premiere this spring. To learn more about “Free CeCe” or to make a tax-deductible contribution to the project, visit the website.