A decision has been reached by a Philippines court regarding Joseph Pemberton, the US Marine who was suspected of killing Filipino trans woman Jennifer Laude back in 2014. During a break from a military exercise, Pemberton reportedly met Laude in a bar and then went back with her to a motel room. While receiving oral sex he discovered that Laude had male genitalia, so he strangeled her and forcibly dunked her head multiple times in a toilet, resulting in her death. Pemberton maitained that his actions were in self-defense.
For this heinous crime, the Associated Press has reported that the court has convicted Pemberton of homicide, which will result in a 6-12 year prison sentence along with paying $68,000 in damages to Laude's family.
While a victory of sorts, we must also recognize the fact that Pemberton was charged with homicide rather than murder, the much more severe charge. There's a clear distinction between the two. The court agrees that Pemberton killed Laude (homicide), but they do not believe that he killed her with intent (murder).
LGBT activists all over the world expressed their dissatisfaction with the ruling. Dindi Tan, member of the Quezon City Pride Council board of directors, expressed her reaction to the Washington Blade:
“The transgender community of the Philippines expected no less than murder...Justice has finally come to Jennifer Laude and her family but it is one weak enough to cover or even approximate our expectations.”
This ruling further proves how legal systems all over the world have tremendous progress to make, especially when sentencing the people who murder members of the trans community.