Jenny in a Battle: The Case of a Murdered Transgender Filipino


Just recently, social networks like Facebook and Twitter were feasting on the death of Jennifer (or Jeffrey) Laude who was presumed to have been murdered by US Marine PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton.  Jennifer Laude, a Filipino transgender was found dead in a lodging house in Olongapo City.  Apparently, she was presumed to have died by drowning in a toilet bowl.  The American Marine, together with Laude, checked in a lodge last Saturday night, October 11, 2014. Several witnesses saw them together. Laude’s fiancĂ©, Marc Suselbeck, a German national condemned the killing along with Laude’s family and several caused oriented group.

Jennifer (or Jeffrey) Laude
Naturally, there were lots of speculations and even damnation after this incident.  It brings back a similar incident years ago where a Filipina also died in the hands of an American servicemen.  However, Jenny’s predicament was quite different and one of a kind due to her sexual orientation; a transgender individual.  This is probably the first time Filipinos heard news involving an American soldier killing a transgender, not a natural born girl or a women, in this territory.  Here are some of my personal thoughts on this incident:

  • Indeed, there are several speculations and question. Jenny is already engaged with her boyfriend so why did she hook up with Joseph Scott Pemberton?  Is this a case of prostitution or a foul play involving Jenny and some friends?  According to reports, the body was discovered an hour after the American left the lodging house and this is quite a short time to discover the murder. In fact, many similar hotel killings took days before the body was discovered. 
  • Is this a case of too much anger because of deception? Looking at some of Joseph Scott Pemberton photos surfacing over the Internet, you can conclude that he doesn't look bad. In fact, being a US Marine is already a plus factor for him; thus, he can get any girl when he wants to.  And, luckily he was smitten by Jenny and unfortunately, hormones were probably raging before they ended up in bed and boom! He discovered something that made him furiously mad that he physically abused the transgender Filipino. There was no intention of killing Jenny but it could be due to some factors like weak body resistance or other people already manipulated the situation after Pemberton left the lodging house, leading to a dead body.
  • As usual, several sectors in the society were over reacting and demanding almost the impossible just to get to the bottom of the story.  The question is, had Jenny been killed by a regular Pinoy bystander, would this incident merit national attention? Of course not.  As a matter of fact, Laude’s case is not isolated.  If you are fond of reading tabloid stories, you would have encountered similar news items in the past and not even the barangay captains touched the murder case to give justice to gays, transsexual, transgender, and other people of the third sex who were killed also in other places in this country. 

    Whether deception, prostitution, and presumptions are involved, no one has the right to kill anybody.  Yes, Mr Pemberton should face trial and defend himself.  Yes, the government should make a law that it is illegal for Filipinos to hook up with American servicemen for entertainment purposes if the government wants to protect its citizens and the visiting forces as well. This is just one solution and the whole society should be involved and discuss ways to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future without putting a strain to US-Philippines Diplomatic relationship. 



Contributed by Alden I. Bula

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