Task Force Pride (TFP) Philippines, joins the LGBT Community in condemning the brutal killing of Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman of Olongapo City. Our sympathies and condolences go out to her friends and family for this loathsome tragedy.
J for Jennifer. J for Justice.
According to reports, Jennifer was last seen alive entering the Celzone Lodge in Magsaysay Drive, Olongapo City with an unidentified US Marine. She was found lifeless with her head in the lodge room’s toilet bowl later that night. Local police says that cause of death is suspected to be asphyxiation and drowning.
We call for the swift and thorough investigation of this crime and for the suspected perpetrator, Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, to be tried in Philippine court.
This tragedy is a reminder of the alarming incidence with which sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) based violence occurs in the Philippines. Our partner organizations receive news of LGBT persons subjected to SOGI-based violence and discrimination on almost a daily basis. The previous cases of unsolved rape and murder among the Filipino LGBT community demonstrate systematic failures of the criminal justice system in responding to SOGI-based violence, which in turn provides perpetrators impunity. That there is an absence of legislation that addresses these persistent issues only further enables this cycle of violence.
We condemn the silence around and tolerance of SOGI-based violence and discrimination that, in effect, normalizes it. We call for responsible and gender identity-sensitive reporting of this case in the media. The language used in reporting this crime can contribute to the harm that Filipino transgender persons experience daily. We urge our friends in media to refer to resources such as the GLAAD Media Reference Guide1 to report fairly and accurately on transgender people.
We condemn the silence around and tolerance of SOGI-based violence and discrimination that, in effect, normalizes it.
We will not condone another Daniel Smith, and we condemn the blatant abuse of the Visiting Forces Agreement [VFA] to skirt the Philippine justice system. We call on the United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service to hand the suspect perpetrator over to Philippine authorities now, and we call for the junking of the VFA — we refuse to be party to the state entering into uneven power relations that only make vulnerable communities become even more vulnerable.
As we observe the 20th year of the Metro Manila Pride March, which brings to the streets the cry of LGBT Filipinos for human rights, equality, and due justice, we call on both survivors of SOGI-based violence and discrimination and their supporters to be one with us as we “COME OUR FOR JUSTICE” in the killing of Jennifer Laude and all others who came before her.
We earnestly appeal for vigilance and that all persons of goodwill speak out against all forms of violence, particularly SOGI-based violence.
For further questions and comments about the Jennifer Laude case, please contact the following transgender organizations who belong to the Task Force Pride network:
Task Force Pride (TFP) Philippines
15 October 2014
Metro Manila, Philippines
Task Force Pride (TFP) Philippines is the official convener of the annual community-driven Metro Manila Pride season. For the past 20 years, this volunteer-managed, non-partisan, and not-for-profit network of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) groups, individuals, and allies has been working on promoting positive visibility for the LGBT community to advance the LGBT human rights advocacy in the Philippines. Please firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or further comments.