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Op-Ed

How Jennifer Laude’s murder showcases blatant bigotry in the Philippines

Peter Jones Dela Cruz expresses his exasperation – nay, outrage! – at the idiots who claim that the murder of Jennifer Laude is deserved. He writes: “Idiots on Facebook say she deserved it because she duped the man. Oh, so it’s okay to kill someone now because they hoodwinked you. Is that it? This is the same kind of victim blaming rape victims suffer from. Yeah, morons in this country think it’s the girl’s fault, she was too naive. It’s her fault, she dresses like a slut. If that’s the case, can we also punch these idiots in the face because they’re so annoying?”

The news about the murder of a transgender we know as Jennifer (born as Jeffrey Laude) is all over the place now. News channels and outlets are putting it on their headlines, giving updates as to the progress of the case and investigation. I don’t know if they’re doing it for ratings’ sake or for true public service, but that’s besides the point.

This incident has irked human rights groups. We have LGBT groups and Gabriela, among others, on the streets, indignant about the killing of a fellow Pinoy and one who belongs to a minority sector. It wasn’t surprising that many sectors would pick up this incident and express anger towards this act of violence. It vexes me too. This is another reminder that in this world people will hurt you, even kill you, because you’re different.

No amount of rationalizing justifies this kind of murder. That’s why when I come across posts of GMA News or Yahoo! Philippines, I’m seriously outraged at the amount of idiocy I see in the comments. You come across vile comments that blame the victim for deceiving the US Marine, for making him believe she was a true woman only for him to find out “she had a dick.” Then there are morons who use this opportunity to promote their religious bigotry. We know fairly well the old saying that God created men and women. Yeah, dicks and pussies. So if you have a dick, then you’re a guy, and you’re not supposed to dress up and look like a woman. Some people are even glorifying the murder, asserting “the faggot deserved it.”

OKAY. You know what, I think that we have allies here in the Philippines. I think that many Pinoys are now tolerant and accepting towards LGBT people. But this is one of those times when you can actually question whether gays and transgenders are truly accepted by the general public. You read news about gays or transgenders, you read articles about Vice Ganda or Aiza Seguerra, and you get an intoxicating dose of bigotry, many of which get the most likes in the comment threads. It’s offending! You begin to question where our level of civilization and education is.

What’s the real issue here? The real issue is murder. She was murdered. I repeat. Jennifer Laude was killed, head soaked in the toilet bowl. Reports say she died of asphyxia, which means the person who murdered her pushed her head into the toilet bowl long enough for her to drown. Why did he do it? Well, police reports say she could have attempted to rob him, which is ridiculous, considering she was only covered in a towel. The other reason is that the US Marine might have ended up in some psychopathic fit after discovering Jennifer’s male genitalia. Does any of that cut it?

Peter Jones Dela Cruz: “You read news about gays or transgenders, you read articles about Vice Ganda or Aiza Seguerra, and you get an intoxicating dose of bigotry, many of which get the most likes in the comment threads. It's offending! You begin to question where our level of civilization and education is.”

Peter Jones Dela Cruz: “You read news about gays or transgenders, you read articles about Vice Ganda or Aiza Seguerra, and you get an intoxicating dose of bigotry, many of which get the most likes in the comment threads. It’s offending! You begin to question where our level of civilization and education is.”

I’m no crime investigation expert or lawyer, so I leave the legal stuff to the experts. But as a logically thinking person, I can say that this was obviously a hate crime. Jennifer’s seeming deception or trickery doesn’t matter now. She’s dead, for crying out loud. Transphobia killed her, transphobia at its worst. You don’t kill people just because they lied to you. You don’t push someone’s head into the toilet bowl to keep them from stealing from you.

Did she deserve it because she allegedly cheated on her fiancé? If so, is it okay if you get yourself killed because you cheated on your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, or husband? I can’t believe that supposedly literate people in 2014 think like that. Was it a risk she should have anticipated by working allegedly as a transgendered sex worker? It doesn’t matter anymore whether she cheated on her German fiancé or whether she was a sex worker. Who cares? That was her private life, totally none or our business.

Idiots on Facebook say she deserved it because she duped the man. Oh, so it’s okay to kill someone now because they hoodwinked you. Is that it? This is the same kind of victim blaming rape victims suffer from. Yeah, morons in this country think it’s the girl’s fault, she was too naive. It’s her fault, she dresses like a slut. If that’s the case, can we also punch these idiots in the face because they’re so annoying?

Then, of course, you have sanctimonious conservatives with their usual “God created dicks and pussies. So if you have a dick, act like people with dicks.” Bullshit.

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The Philippines has yet to truly open itself to people who don’t conform to the norm. Compared to, say, many African and Asian countries, we’re friendlier to the LGBT. But narrow-mindedness still lingers. Hatred is still around. People who mock and laugh at gays and transgenders are still around, and the worse part is that many gays and transgenders have embraced this vicious culture of being laughed at, thus pulling off comical stunts to gain false acceptance from a society that still largely looks at gays and transgenders as second class citizens.

RIP Jennifer Laude. We will watch over the progress of your case, albeit with cynicism.

Follow Peter Jones Dela Cruz at Google+.

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