GALANG Philippines and its partner community-based organizations composed of over 100 lesbians, bisexual women, and trans men (LBTs), families, and friends will once again unite to march the streets at the Quezon City (QC) Pride March on December 5, 2015 (Saturday). With this year’s theme “Magkakaiba at Nagkakaisa” (Diverse and United), the marchers will join other advocates at Tomas Morato corner Don Roces Avenue around 3:00 PM.
Middle of this year, GALANG and its partner organizations also participated in the 21st Metro Manila Pride March as we recounted blatant sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE)-based discriminatory incidents experienced by the Philippine LGBT sector at large. As of December 2, 2015, there have been developments in the case of our sister, Jennifer Laude–a transgender woman brutally killed by US Serviceman Joseph Scott Pemberton on October 11, 2014. GALANG Philippines likewise expresses its grave disappointment on the decision of the Olongapo Regional Trial Court Branch 74 that downgraded the original charge of murder against Pemberton to only homicide. There have been special treatments made on Pemberton’s account, such that immediately after being sentenced to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa, his counsel was able to secure the court’s approval for a 5-day extension in his present detention facility at Camp Aguinaldo’s Custodial Center in Quezon City while the US and the Philippines decide where to permanently detain him following provisions under the Visiting Forces Agreement between the two countries. Indeed, Pemberton’s conviction of homicide is half-baked justice and we strongly call on the Philippine government to invoke our national sovereignty in ensuring that Pemberton serves his jail term in the country as a national prisoner with no special rights.
When SOGIE-based stigma and discrimination are coupled with people’s SOGIE-based prejudices, this can result to violence and hate crimes like the undocumented brutal killings of LGBT individuals. Such prejudice was seen through Pemberton’s defense argument claiming that he was repulsed upon discovering that Jennifer was biologically male, which caused his violent reactions and brutal killing of Jennifer. This is how people’s lack of awareness and SOGIE-based prejudices can aggravate the stigma and discrimination against LGBT individuals that often result to hate crimes.
These prevailing issues and circumstances urge GALANG to call on LBTs living in urban poor areas to collectively fight for equal rights, which has also been called for by its four partner LBT organizations. GALANG envisions a just and progressive society that treats all persons equally regardless of class, sex, and SOGIE. Thus, we have relentlessly and repeatedly called on for the passage of an Anti-Discrimination Bill to protect, promote and guarantee basic human rights of LGBT Filipinos.
We acknowledge that Jennifer’s case symbolizes hope for the documented and undocumented deaths of LGBT individuals due to hate crimes. We will not allow such deaths to be in vain. We will unite, and our collective voice shall resonate a loud and clear call:
Let authentic justice be served, no more no less!
Gyky Tangente, Advocacy Officer
+63 2 435 4103, +63 927 293 3731
 Lesbian Alliance Movement (LAM): Lakas ng Kababaihan Para sa Karapatan (Women’s Power for their Rights); Lesbian Alliance Bagbag (LAB); Ugnayan ng Nagkakaisang Lesbyana Laban sa Diskriminasyon (UNLAD)/Association of United Lesbians Against Discrimination; and Lesbians for Rights (LFR)Back to Photo Albums