They say, it takes a village to raise a child. But, it also takes a village to kill its child.
Jennifer Laude was murdered. And then her gender was put into light, as if being a transgender validated in any way the fact that she — a human being, who has the same rights and dignity as everyone else — was a victim of a crime born out of hate. And hate for what? For being true to who she was.
Our acceptance of the LGBT community only lies on the surface. We like them only as long as they entertain us. We like them, so long as they do not ask for the same rights as we have, so long as they don’t disrupt our sense of order. We only like them so long as they don’t ask anything from us, not even for justice nor for acceptance, not even for dignity nor for freedom.
The murder of Jennifer Laude is the murder we all perpetuated and took a part in. Our hands may not have been the ones that drowned her to her death, but in allowing a culture that discriminates based on gender, in insisting that a person should be killed because of his/her chosen gender identity, in not holding the suspect accountable for his actions because he is foreign to our land, we ultimately perpetuate a culture of violence and apathy, a culture of hatred for those different from us, a culture of victim blaming.
Jennifer was a transgender. Jennifer was a Filipino. Jennifer was a human being. No human being deserves to be murdered, especially not because of how she identifies herself. If we do not demand justice for Jennifer, if we continue to make excuses for the man who killed her — she lied to him, what was she doing with him anyway, she deserves it — who’s to say we are any different from the murderer that he is
A murder has been committed. Our hands are not clean. We all did this to Jennifer.
Artwork by: Ralph Eya
Written by: Renee Julienne Karunungan