Subic murder opens transgender world | Global News

Subic murder opens transgender world

By: - Correspondent / @amacatunoINQ
/ 11:14 PM October 18, 2014

US SAILORS aboard the assault ship USS Peleliu docked in Subic Bay. The presence of US troops in the area, according to leftist groups, abets an underground prostitution industry thriving near the former US naval base.  LYN RILLON

US SAILORS aboard the assault ship USS Peleliu docked in Subic Bay. The presence of US troops in the area, according to leftist groups, abets an underground prostitution industry thriving near the former US naval base. LYN RILLON

OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines—Despite her sexual orientation and gender preference, Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, 26, lived life no different from other people, said close friend and house mate, Alexis, who is also a transgender woman.

Alexis, who has been staying with Laude in an apartment in Barangay Tapinac here for more than a year, said she and Laude belong to a small circle of friends, about 10 of them, who are all transgender women.


Except for the times when she heard catcalls and mocking words from bystanders, Alexis said she could not recall any instance that she or Laude had been seriously discriminated against.


“I think discrimination against us will always be there but we don’t take it seriously,” Alexis said.

She said Laude, who was murdered allegedly by a US serviceman in a motel here on Oct. 11, was too comfortable with being a transgender woman to harbor hatred against people who did not like them.


Irish, 30, another transgender woman, said she, too, has never felt discriminated against.

“Here in Olongapo, I can see that people are receptive to transgender [people] like us. I don’t think it’s an issue at all,” Irish, who works in a beauty salon here, said.

She said she was saddened by the death of Laude and wanted the government to help her family attain justice.


Just like her friends, Alexis and Laude, Irish lives her life like the ordinary Filipino one will meet on the street.

An American, Bob, who lives in Germany, called Laude’s death as “tragic” and sympathized with her family. He had been visiting the wake of Laude here almost daily but he would not stay long.

Bob said he had known the victim for quite some time and that he, too, has a transgender girlfriend.

Alexis said Bob personally knows Laude and that they are friends because they all share almost a similar story.

“I have a foreigner boyfriend so does she (Laude). Bob’s girlfriend is transgender who is my friend as well,” Alexis said.

A young couple from Pampanga went to the wake because they heard the news about her death.

Kevin, 17, and Rica, 25, said they do not know Laude personally but they felt the urge to visit her wake because she is a transgender.

“Since I’m also a transgender, I felt bad about what happened to her. It was very tragic,” Rica, said, adding that transgender women in Pampanga and in Olongapo City are “very much accepted.”

“Her (Laude’s) death came as a shock considering that I know most of us don’t get discriminated against in that degree,” Rica said.

Kevin, Rica’s boyfriend, said he had eight girlfriends before Rica became his girlfriend. “My friends have been telling me the love gay people give their partners is more passionate. I’ve seen that it’s true,” Kevin said.

In Baguio City, Myke Sotero, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church-Metro Baguio (MCC), a Christian church that caters to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, said a transgender person lives her life as a woman, despite having male genitals.

“Their everyday life is the life of ordinary women. They wake up in the morning, take a bath, fix their hair and wear make up. But they face a stressful life every day because they have to face the reality of discrimination and bullying in the workplace or even in schools,” he said.

Sotero, who preferred to be called gay, said transgender women are more prone to hate crimes because they are comfortable being seen in public in women’s clothes, unlike gay men who are discreet.

He said many transgender women he knows work in beauty parlors, call centers and in the entertainment industry.



“Some transgender women are sex workers while there are those who make a career as ’beauconeras’ (those who join beauty contests),” he said.

While there are transgender women who suffer violence and are loathed by their relatives, others are accepted as ordinary family members.

“There is a degree of tolerance for gays or transgender [people] who usually work or are professionals and act as the breadwinner of the family. Sometimes, this society has double standards… If you are earning for your family, you are accepted and loved; but if you earn nothing, you are rejected,” Sotero said.

He said the MCC-Metro Baguio had wed 115 couples from the LGBT community. He said their church sponsors dialogues and briefings for the LGBT community to deepen the understanding of the public on homosexuality and LGBT rights. With a report from Desiree Caluza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: Crime, gender, homosexuality, Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude, killing, US naval base

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