Recently, the Philippines was rocked by the murder of a transgender woman, Jennifer Laude, allegedly perpetrated by Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, a US marine. There's a lot of issues that immediately crop up when you put these two things together, and realize that this crime happened in Olongapo: gender issues. Sovereignty issues. And of course, the issue of whether or not justice will be served.
I realize that a lot of inquiring minds want to have all the necessary information at hand when making up their minds what to think about this case. Here's a handy guide for anyone who wants to be well-informed. And if, by any chance, you're too busy to read everything, feel free to just take note of each individual Question and each subsequent Answer and just ignore all the other text in the middle, if you find this all TL;DR for you.





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Should we refer to Jennifer as a “he” or a “she,” or should we insist on calling her Jeffrey, which was her given name before she made the transition? Well, duh. She wanted to be called Jennifer. Is it really too much to ask of us to respect a decision that was clearly important to her but makes next to no difference to us?
And, oh. Yeah. Jennifer Laude is no longer with us, so it doesn't really matter how we feel about transgender people, or how little we know about the dynamics of being one, because we're too wrapped up in our heteronormative life to focus on what's really important.
Answer: Jennifer is a she. As she always wanted it to be. But more importantly, Jennifer Laude was murdered. Let's prioritize solving that.





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Do we want the Visiting Forces Agreement to be junked? That's what the communist militants clearly want, and this is the perfect window of opportunity for them. Maybe they're exploiting Jennifer's plight, maybe they're not, but as long as they're fighting for justice for her, then they can piggyback whatever other agenda they have as long as it doesn't get in the way. Of justice.
Answer: Jennifer Laude was murdered. Let's prioritize solving that.





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Yes, because what people have between their legs at the time of death is really one of the important things we need to know.
Answer: None of our goddamned business. Also, Jennifer Laude was murdered. Let's prioritize solving that.





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Jennifer apparently had a fiance, yet she was last seen alive with another man in a motel room. Her fiance is grieving and obviously doesn't even care whether or not she cheated on him. And this realization is important to the case... how?
Answer: Jennifer Laude was murdered. Let's prioritize solving that.





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Even if she were a prostitute, Jennifer Laude would still have had rights. Especially the right to live.
Answer: Jennifer Laude was murdered. Let's prioritize solving that.





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Well, if it did, how is that an excuse? Trans panic? Gay panic? Is your sexuality such a big deal to you that you're willing to kill someone just to feel secure about being a dude? Screw that.
Answer: Jennifer Laude was murdered. Let's prioritize solving that.





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Does the fiance even sound like he cares about that? He lost the love of his life. He's grieving. He's angry as hell at the guy who allegedly did it. Do you really think this should be an important thought running through his head right now?
Answer: Jennifer Laude was murdered. Let's prioritize solving that.





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It's rather amusing to see someone with clearly Catholic-influenced values citing the Hindu concept of “karma” to justify what happened to Jennifer Laude. Spoiler: nothing she did could ever have justified it.
Answer: Jennifer Laude was murdered. Let's prioritize solving that.
And shame on you for blaming the victim.


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TL;DR: Insert your political or moral or religious agenda into the issue after the damned thing is resolved, not before. All those other “important” questions can go take a long walk off a short pier, for all I care.
Jennifer Laude (a she, and not “Jeffrey”) was murdered. Let's prioritize solving that.

Kel Fabie

Kel Fabie. is a DJ, host, mentalist, satirist, comedian, and a long-time contributor to 8List (Hello, ladies!). He has an Oscar, a Pulitzer, a Nobel, and two other weirdly-named pet dogs. He blogs on mistervader.com.

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