Fil-Am transgender advocates say Jennifer a victim of ‘hate crime’
LOS ANGELES – Filipino-American activists and transgender advocates are demanding that the US Marine suspected in the murder of transgender Filipino Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude be turned over to local authorities.
They called for a thorough investigation of the case and asked the Philippine government to take immediate action and press charges against the perpetrator of what they labeled a “hate crime.”
“We are outraged by the killing of Jennifer Laude” said Jenab-i Pareja, BAYAN Queer Caucus organizer. “We demand to assert the country’s laws and have the suspect face the Philippine court.”
BAYAN Queer Caucus, GABRIELA New York, BaranGAY New York and TransJustice of Audre Lorde Project have scheduled a rally on Oct. 19 in front of the Philippine Consulate in New York to demand justice for the 26-year-old Laude.
In a joint statement, the activist groups asked President Aquino to “prevent another Daniel Smith handling of the case.”
In 2006, US Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith was convicted of raping a Filipino woman, identified as Nicole, whom he met at a bar inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. The conviction of Smith was later overturned. Activists have cited the case as an example of the problems arising from increased American military presence in the Philippines.
The suspect, identified as Joseph Scott Pemberton from the North Carolina-based 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, allegedly met Laude at a bar. She was later found dead inside a hotel in Olongapo City on Oct. 12. Pemberton is being held aboard the amphibious assault ship Peleliu pending an investigation.
The Marines are in the Philippines for an annual amphibious joint exercise between US and Philippine defense forces. About 3,500 Marines are involved in the exercise.
Among those scheduled to speak at the planned rally in New York City are GenderProud founder Geena Rocero, Miss LGBT Philippines-USA Chelle Lhuillier and Reverend Father Noel Bordador, said the statement.
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