U.S. Marine Guilty In Slaying Of Transgender Woman In Philippines

Photo: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images.
Supporters of Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman killed by a U.S. Marine, demonstrate outside a court in February 2015.
The 2014 slaying of Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman in the Philippines, sparked major protests in her home country and beyond. Now, more than a year after her death, the U.S. Marine accused of killing the 26-year-old has been found guilty by a court in the Philippines, according to The Associated Press. Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton was convicted of homicide and sentenced to six to 12 years in prison. Prosecutors say he strangled Laude during a meeting in a hotel after discovering that she was transgender. Pemberton admitted to choking Laude during a fight in his testimony, but maintained that she was alive when he left her, the AP reported. Laude's mother told the AP that while she wanted to see Pemberton convicted of murder, a more serious charge than homicide, she is glad to see that he will go to jail. Activists say Laude's killing is a sad reminder of the challenges and dangers faced by trans men and women in the Philippines. While long celebrated in pop culture and the country's vibrant pageant scene, transgender people lack legal protections in the Philippines and report facing discrimination and even violence. The Philippines had one of the highest rates of murders of transgender people in all of Asia from 2008 to 2014, according to the international Trans Murder Monitoring project.

Violence against the transgender community remains a major problem worldwide. At least 79 people have died from anti-trans violence so far this year, according to a list maintained by International Transgender Day of Remembrance organizers. The Trans Murder Monitoring Project has documented more than 1,700 deaths over seven years.

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