NYC trangenders rally for Jennifer Laude

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 16, 2014

NEW YORK CITY, NY – Dozens of Filipino activists and members of the transgender community showed up at the Philippine Consulate in New York to show their support for trans Pinay murder victim Jennifer Laude.

The Filipino American Transgender Community of New York and their supporters say they are outraged by the death of one of their own.

Laude was found dead inside a motel in Olongapo City, Philippines on Saturday.

The suspect – 19-year-old Joseph Scott Pemberton of Bedford, Mass. – a US Marine who is in the Philippines for the Balikatan excercises.

Protesters demand justice for the 26-year-old transgender Filipina.

“We are calling for justice for the killing, for the horrendous murder of our transgender sister back home in the Philippines,” Human Rights Campaign Volunteer Chelle Lhuillier said. “No one has the right to kill someone regardless of the circumstances behind.”

“I am part Filipino-Hawaiian. I am a woman of trans experience and he needs to be held accountable,” transgender Fil-Am Armani Teighlor said. “I am demanding that the US government turn him over to the Philippine government.”

Protesters say, Jennifer’s death is a direct impact of the US military presence in the Philippines.

Bayan Queer Caucus’ Jenabi Pareja said: “We are also urging the Philippine Consulate to pressure the Philippine government and the US government to junk the visiting Forces Agreement and the EDCA Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.”

Others believe Laude’s death further exposes the daily vulnerability of trans women in the Philippines who suffer from violence and hate crimes.

Teighlor said, “The matter of Jennifer is clearly a hate crime committed by a US military personnel and he must be held accountable.”

“Trans women are women. Trans lives matter.” Geena Rocero, the founder of transgender rights group Gender Proud, said. “Jennifer living her truth is enough. She’s a woman. Nobody deserves to die like she did.”

Rocero, who was recently in the Philippines said her first hand experience with being discriminated in her place of birth is unbelievable.

“I remember giving an interview in the Philippines. I’m walking out of the building and as I walk, these tricycle drivers started screaming at me: “Bakla!” Rocero said. “I feel sad for the ignorance. This is why we can’t continue like this. As a community, we need to have this discussion.”

She said these things happen because of the lack of laws that would protect members of the LGBT community in the Philippines.

House Bill 110, an anti-discrimination bill, is still pending in the Philippine Congress because the Catholic Church strictly opposes the inclusion of gay rights in the said bill.

If passed, the bill would impose fines and jail time for discrimination against members of the LGBT community.

“It’s been presented more than ten years,” Rocero said. “It’s horrible that this has to happen. We cannot let another Jennifer happen. We cannot let another killing of our sister happen.”

You can contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

Should the Anti-discrimination Bill against LGBTs be passed in the Philippines?

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3 Comments on this post.

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  • filam
    16 October 2014 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Go back to the Philippines if you are against America

  • Delia
    17 October 2014 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Filipinos are such dip sticks , always rallying for all the wrong reasons . When will you all realize that without America philippines still crawling under mud. if Americans left you alone since spanish occupation , then under japanese . Now a great threats from China . who do you defend on ?

    NO OTHER COUNTRY EVER HELP PHILIPPINES EXCEPT AMERICANS . REMEMBER THAT AND PUT IT IN YOUR SCULL OR BRAIN IF YOU HAVE ONE.

    America does not owe you anything , you owe America everything , they even paid rent using the bases over there for $768 millions a year . Americans has been doing everything to help your country be it their lives or money . What are you doing in return for America ?

  • Kuya
    17 October 2014 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    I only have one sentence for you. Respect yourself and Be honest because nobody wants to be cheated….

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