Content warning: Anti-trans violence

Close to midnight on 04 August 2021, Cindy Jones Torres was brutally attacked and killed in a salon in Guiguinto, Bulacan. Described by her chosen family, the DiBa fam, as a joyful person who was quick to help those in need, the 39-year-old salon owner was deeply religious, was active in LGBTQIA+ rights activism in Bulacan, and was also the sole breadwinner of her family.

Cindy’s killer, now in custody, claims “trans panic” in his legal defense. This same defense was used by Joseph Scott Pemberton to avoid the harsher sentence befitting his murder of Jennifer Laude in 2014. The “trans panic defense” has been used to excuse violence against transgender people. Any legal defense rooted in prejudice has no place in a just world.

Metro Manila Pride condemns the brutal killing of Cindy. Hers is the 4th reported death of a Filipino LGBTQIA+ person this year, the 21st reported murder of a trans person under the Duterte administration, and the 61st reported murder of a trans person in the Philippines since 2008. The actual death toll is likely higher. To this day, no justice has been granted to the victims and the families they have left behind.

The grim reality faced by LGBTQIA+ Filipinos is clear. Despite this, laws that aim to address the roots of SOGIESC-based prejudice continue to languish in Congress. There is still no Hate Crime law that can help justly account for crimes marked by SOGIESC-based violence.

Metro Manila Pride calls for the government to certify the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill as urgent. We firmly demand that a Hate Crime Law against crimes motivated by biases and prejudice on the basis of one’s SOGIESC be urgently passed.

Cindy’s wake is at Poblacion Aglipay in front of the Guiguinto Church. She is survived by her father, her two siblings, and two pamangkins. We encourage those who can to send donations for Cindy’s family through her brother Dansel Torres’ GCash account at 0951 008 4694 (this account was supplied and verified by her DiBa fam).

Transgender people are not safe in the Philippines. LGBTQIA+ people are not safe in the Philippines. No one is safe in the Philippines for as long as violence against marginalized groups is allowed to continue. This cycle of violence must end.


Metro Manila Pride
5 August 2021

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