By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Oct. 14, 2014
ELMHURST, NY – When the slaying of transgender Filipina Jennifer Laude hit the news in America, New York’s LGBTQ rights and gender equality advocate Chelle Lhuillier said, it sent shockwaves to the transgender community.
“They are angry, taking somebody’s life for one’s mistake is not the answer, I feel their outrage,” said Lhuillier.
While the circumstances leading to Laude’s death is still under investigation speculations and theories such as transgender women not being honest about their gender identity was put on the table.
An active member of the Human Rights Campaign in New York Lhuillier immediately posted a statement on social media saying, while she condemns the senseless murder of Laude she is also calling on all trans women to live by their own truth.
“While we are not obliged to let the world know we are transgender people, being truthful about our gender identity will set us free and keep us safe from incidents like this, at the same time earn everybody’s respect as well,” said Lhuillier.
As an eligible bachelorette, the Pinay beauty queen is active on the dating scene.
But she says, she makes it a point to make her gender identity known online and offline, especially after her close friend was beaten black and blue for being transgender.
Lhuillier, who also works at the New York City Board of Education says, there are subtle ways to divulge one’s gender identity.
“There are ways to introduce ourselves and still be respectable. For example, you can say ‘I am a special woman’ or ‘I am the best of both worlds,’” Lhuillier said. “Or we can tell them straight up, I am a transgender person – it’s up to you, you can take it or leave it.”
Lhuillier says, she is praying that the Philippine government will exercise its sovereignty and jurisdiction over the perpetrator of the crime.
“I believe that US officials should surrender and turn over the said US military service personnel involved in this crime to the Philippine authorities for investigation and detention,” Lhuillier said. “He will be prosecuted according to the Philippine Law and that justice will be served.”
Lhuillier and transgender rights advocate Geena Rocero are joining a rally to call for a thorough investigation and justice for Laude.
The rally will be held at the Philippine Consulate in New York City on Wednesday afternoon Oct. 15.
You may contact Don Tagala at email@example.com for more information.