OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines – Remarks against slain transgender Filipina Jennifer Laude including speculations on the nature of her work and her lifestyle choices show society’s long-standing prejudice against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
This is according to Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales who was at Laude’s wake Friday, October 24.
She expressed dismay over comments blaming Laude for her ill fate, since she had gone out with another man – US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, accused of her murder – despite her engagement to German national Marc Sueselbeck. (READ: Is the Philippines really gay-friendly?)
Laude’s stepfather, Franco Cabillan, said Laude had her own home-based parlor business and received regular sums from fiancé Sueselbeck. Her housemate said Laude rarely went out, and that going to bars on Saturday nights was their way to have fun. (READ: Strength in colors: The Filipino LGBT community)
Rosales said the real issues have to be distilled from prejudice-spawned speculations over the unfortunate incident.
“Ang pinakamahalagang usapin dito human being siya. Hindi siya dapat pinatay (The most important issue here is that she is a human being. She shouldn’t have been killed),” Rosales explained.
Laude, the family breadwinner, was found dead in an Olongapo City motel toilet on October 11. The official autopsy report cited asphyxiation by drowning as the cause of death.
Laude is not the murderer
Amid all the noise surrounding the tragedy, Rosales said the question is simple: Who committed the crime?
“Pinatay na siya, and yet papaano [siya] tinatrato (She was already killed, and yet how is she being treated)?” she asked rhetorically, pertaining to how some people have reacted to Laude’s case.
Rosales said being transgender is not a crime; murder is.
She also said, “Ang pinaka-obvious attitude na nakikita in terms of ‘yung discrimination, ‘yung the lack of respect for the human dignity of the person because transgender siya (The most obvious attitude we see in terms of discrimination is the lack of respect for the human dignity of the person due to her being a transgender).”
The CHR chief also urged lawmakers to pass an anti-discrimination bill covering LGBT members.
Rosales authored the first proposed anti-discrimination legislation as Akbayan party-list representative. Various versions have surfaced in Congress, but no law has been enacted to date.
She said over 50 cases of “hate crimes” are being investigated by the CHR. Police authorities have called Laude’s murder a hate crime. (READ: ‘CHR documentation of hate crimes will protect LGBT interest’) – Rappler.com