Sympathy for the Family and Friends of Jennifer Laude; Solidarity with Jennifer’s Supporters

[Message sent and read to the family of Jennifer Laude at a Vigil and Commemoration in Manila, Philippines, on November 4, 2014]

AF3IRM thanks you for the opportunity to extend our sympathy, condolence and, more, our outrage for what happened to Jennifer Laude, a Filipina transwoman killed in the territory of the Philippines allegedly by a US marine.

On the day Jennifer was killed, a Native American transwoman was beaten unconscious in Brooklyn, New York — so badly that she remains in a coma. This was but the latest in a series of attacks on trans people in the United States.

We mention this not to minimize what was done to Jennifer but rather to stress the roots of the hatred and discrimination that victimized Jennifer and ended her young life – a life that was of value to her family, her friends, her community.

Misogyny, homophobia, trans-phobia, racism – these are the tools of the divide and conquer strategy of empire-builders. Intertwined systems of oppression are used to create a hierarchy of suppression that enables the profit-mongers to maximize what they can extract from the despoliation of nations, cultures, and people.

Both the native culture of the Philippines and the culture of the battered transwoman of Brooklyn recognize genders not within the binary gender system. Among Native Americans, two-spirit people are viewed with great respect, as was the binababae and the binalalake in the bedrock culture of the Philippines.

Misogyny, homophobia and transphobia were taught and imposed, along with the binary gender system, by colonialism and arduously maintained by imperialism. They are manifestations of disrespect for native and indigenous cultures, and create artificial hatreds to mask where the roots of suppression and exploitation actually lie.

AF3IRM is cognizant of the fact that the quest for justice for Jennifer is made more difficult by the unequal Visiting Forces Agreement, which in effect legalizes occupation. Unlike agreements with countries of Europe, where conditions are imposed to protect the citizens of the host country from visiting foreign troops, the US agreement with the Philippines is sadly lacking in both process and means to do the same for the latter’s citizens.

US society is replete with violence – class, race and gender violence – and that violence continues to be exported to areas under its influence. The current dismal state of the Middle East should suffice as an example, with the state of conflict raging through Iraq, Syria and Palestine, directly traceable to Western intervention, in its rapacity for oil.

We are with you in this quest for justice for Jennifer and all others subjected to discrimination, suppression and exploitation. We are with you in your desire to uproot the division and hatred fostered upon your people by colonialism and imperialism. We are with you in your hope that the pre-class values of unity, compassion and respect will rise again.

On November 18th, as we mobilize to protest trans-phobia in the United States itself, we will carry the name and image of Jennifer Laude, so that all may realize how necessary and urgent it is to end learned hatreds in the US, so that these may no longer be seeded the world over.

Again, our sympathies and our condolence. But because Jennifer continues to live in this cause, we greet her happy birthday, maligayang kaarawan, feliz compleanos, kul aam wa ante be khir, parabens!

Onward to the liberation of women and humanity!


Jollene Levid, National Chairperson
Barbra Ramos, National Communications Director
Ninotchka Rosca

Contact: [email protected]