Transgender rights activists demand justice for Laude at NY vigil

NEW YORK – Dozens of people gathered at the Washington Square Park in New York Monday night for a candlelight vigil to honor all the transgender women lost to police related violence and brutality.

As the names of each victim is called, Filipinos here called a name to honor one of their own.

Jennifer laude — a transgender Filipina who was found strangled to death inside a motel bathroom in Olongapo City last October.

Transgender Pinay activist, Armani Taylor says the issuance of an arrest warrant against US Marine suspect Joseph Scott Pemberton is welcome news for the Fil-Am transgender community in New York.

“I’m glad that he is being charged with that crime and he needs to face some harsh punishment,” said community organizer Armani Taylor. “He deserves it.”

“We want justice for all trans women who were murdered or who experience violence in society,” said Tanya Asapansa Walker of the Audre Lorde Project.

If found guilty on murder charges, Pemberton may face up to 40 years in jail.

“He should be in jail for the rest of his life and there should be a huge look at the U.S. military in the Philippines,” said Candace Sering of Gabriela New York. “We should junk the visiting forces agreement.

The Philippine government is now working on getting Pemberton’s custody from the U.S. government while advocates for transgender women rights here say they will keep a close watch on this case until justice is served to their sister, Jennifer Laude.

You can contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com and follow him on Twitter @dontagala for more information.

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