Working to Help Get #JusticeForJenniferLaude

Ging Cristobal, OutRight's project coordinator in Asia, is coordinating, facilitating and speaking at the multi-sectoral regional workshop in the Philippines about comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation today, October 9th and October 10th. The regional multi-city, multi-sectoral workshop will cover violence and discrimination faced by LGBTIQ persons in the Philippines. The workshop will address:

  • discrimination in employment,
  • access to education and social stigma,
  • family relations.

The workshop involves participants from different sectors who are working on the Stop The Discrimination (STD) coalition, which is working to build support among lawmakers for comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation ahead of national elections next May.

Two bills are pending in Congress-- the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Anti-Discrimination Bill (SOGIE ADB) and a comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Bill, which seeks punitive measures to address discrimination against LGBT people, indigenous and disabled people, the elderly, youth and religious groups.

One important feature of the comprehensive ADB is a requirement for public and private agencies and institutions to have diversity programs to inform and educate people about different groups covered by the bill.

OutRight, as one of the leaders in the STD coalition, is directly advocating to introduce LGBTIQ issues to a broader audience, who will be active players in the coming months.

Today a candle light vigil is being held in remembrance of Jennifer Laude. Organizers include Philwomen on ASEAN, Lagablab Network, Akbayan LGBT Collective, KAISA-KA, and University of the Philippines Diliman Student Council. Below is the press release. Please share and pass along the event details:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1723337967890076/

***************************************************

P R E S S R E L E A S E

11 OCTOBER 2015

OUTRAGED ADVOCATES, ALLIES CRY FOR JUSTICE IN CANDLELIGHT MEMORIAL FOR JENNIFER LAUDE

QUEZON CITY – Candles spelled ‘J U S T I C E’ burned on the grounds of UP Grandstand, Friday afternoon. Wearing white shirts, advocates and allies gathered to commemorate the death of Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman slain allegedly by US Marine LCPL Joseph Scott Pemberton.

Justice for gender-based violence

A year has passed since the death of Jennifer Laude. Advocates expressed indignation over the direction of the trial pending judgment in the Olongapo Regional Trial Court. The atmosphere combined a feeling of solemn mourning and outrage. For the advocates, the candlelight memorial is a tribute and a form of resistance. “Remembering the death of Jennifer Laude is part of our resistance against gender-based violence and our call to dismantle social forces and structures that promote it: sexism, patriarchy, and militarism,” said Naomi Fontanos, Executive Director of Ganda Filipinas. Jean Enriquez, Coalition against Trafficking in Women (CATW-AP) Executive Director criticized the ills confronting women seeking justice, “ getting justice is even harder if you are up against the most powerful country in the world; more so when victims are women who are commodified, objectified, discriminated in society. This hate crime against Jennifer is illustrative of the continuum of violence suffered by many women, including trans women."

Advocates formed a circle, linked arms while holding candles and offered their messages and call for justice. “We are many coming together as one: this is your legacy to us, Jennifer. We will never forget,” spoke Arvin Borja, Advocacy Admin Assistant of Rainbow Rights Philippines. “We light a candle to shed light on the indignities that our sister, Jennifer, endured and the justice her family clamors for and rightfully deserves”, voiced Gyky Tangente, GALANG Philippines, Inc. Advocacy Officer.

Unsafe in our own land

Advocates condemned the many acts of gender-based violence, discrimination, and lack of protection for trans women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as a whole. “The Jennifer Laude murder incident is not just a death of a Filipino trans woman but this tells us how unsafe we are even in our own land where our government does not consider us as citizens of this country due to lack of protective laws that will ensure the welfare of our community” lamented Kate Cordova, Founder and Chairwoman, Association of Transgenders in the Philippines. “Jennifer Laude’s murder symbolizes the whole struggle of our community. It is also the exact face of our country’s struggle against those capitalist nations wanting to use and exploit, and militarize our nation and resources,” added Jhay De Jesus, True Colors Coalition spokesperson.

Lead groups and organizers of the memorial expressed their outrage and disappointment. The groups said they are appalled by the blatant disregard and indifference of the P-Noy administration to the case. Late last year, P-Noy was quoted saying the murder of Jennifer is not "something really earth-shattering and new.” They asked, “Isn’t the murder of Jennifer Laude and all victims of gender-based violence earth-shattering? How many lives have to be lost if only for our own Philippine government to act swiftly and do all means possible to ensure that justice will be served? We call upon all to light our candles for women’s access to justice. May our rage against the murder of Jennifer Laude reach the halls of justice!”

Pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill, Convict Pemberton

Jessie Dimaisip of Akbayan LGBT Collective called for the passage of law to address discrimination, “discrimination is never harmless… hurting us emotionally, psychologically, and physically. Let us rally together to pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill!” Meggan Evangelista, Executive Director of Babaylanes urged “as we join the rest of the Filipinos who cry for justice for Jennifer Laude and all of those who were neglected, hurt and killed because of their SOGIE, we urge the Government to put in place laws that will establish the culture of non-discrimination and start this with the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill into law.”

KAISA KA Secretary General Proleta Gomez pressed for conviction of Pemberton, “As we commemorate the death of Jennifer laude, we are calling for conviction of US Marine LCPL Joseph Scott Pemberton for the murder of Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman, as a first step towards justice. Freedom loving Filipinos must keep watch and continue to stay vigilant until justice is served. The memorial ended with a resolve to demand urgent and swift action from the Philippine government under the P-noy administration, “we burn with fury against injustice, violence, and discrimination against women. This is not the first case on gender-based violence that implicates the visiting forces agreement (VFA). This will not be the last as long as the Philippine government turns a blind eye to the injustice it has brought upon Filipino women; and as long as the Filipino society continues to harbor hostility towards people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity and expressions (SOGIE),” stressed Jelen C. Paclarin, Executive Director of Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB) and member of the Philwomen on ASEAN national network. Philwomen on ASEAN, Lagablab Network, KAISA KA and University of the Philippines Diliman Student Council (USC) are the co-organizers of the event.