MANILA, Philippines – It has been 5 years since trans woman Jennifer Laude was murdered by US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton but justice for her remains elusive.
The struggle for acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community is far from over. They continue to suffer from discrimination, harrasement and hate on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE). (READ: ‘Tolerated, but not accepted’: Filipino LGBTQ+ speak up vs discrimination)
Last June, UP trans woman professor Hermie Monterde came forward on social media with accounts of alleged workplace discrimination. Two months later, trans woman Gretchen Custodio Diez was prevented from using a woman’s restroom in a Cubao mall in Quezon City and was even arrested.
To unite the University of the Philippines (UP) community in the call for justice for Laude and all SOGIE-based violence, LGBTQ+ support group UP Babaylan held a candle lighting protest on Friday, October 11, at the Palma Hall in UP Diliman.
Punong Babaylan Stuart Barretto urged the UP community to unite against violence and hate crimes involving the LGBTQ+ members.
“Ilan pa ba ang kailangan mamatay? Ilan pa ba ang kailangan maging biktima ng kultura ng karahasan against LGBTQ+? Ngayon na anibersaryo ng kamatayan ni Jennifer Laude alalahanin natin lahat ng biktima ng SOGIE-based violence. Hindi lang si Jennifer Laude ang biktima, kundi tayo ring LGBTQI community,” Barretto said.
(How many more people should die? How many more people should be victims of a culture of hatred and bigotry against LGBTQI? Now that it is the anniversary of Jennifer Laude’s death, let us all remember all the victims of SOGIE-based violence. Jennifer Laude is not the only victim, but all of us in the LGBTQI community)
The organization also called on the Senate to pass the SOGIE Equality Bill in order to help end the culture of hate and intolerance that leads to violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. (READ: TIMELINE: SOGIE equality in the Philippines)
Below are some scenes from the candle lighting protest:
– With reports from Christian Carlo Acilo/Rappler.com