GABRIELA USA Stands in Solidarity with the Trans Community on Trans Day of Remembrance

November 20, 2014

Reference: Terrie Cervas, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

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GABRIELA USA joins in solidarity with the Trans and Gender Non-Conforming community on this Trans Day of Remembrance. We are outraged at the escalating transphobic attacks, murders and the struggles faced by Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people, including low-income, imprisoned, undocumented and trans people of color. We remember, grieve, and demand justice for those who have lost their lives to transphobic violence, including Aniya Parker in L.A., Zoraida Reyes in Orange County, Mia Henderson and Kandy Hall in Baltimore, Islan Nettles and Lateisha Green in New York.

On October 11, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender woman from the Philippines, was brutally beaten and strangled to death in a hotel room in Olongapo City near Subic Bay Naval Base by Private First Class Joseph Pemberton. Jennifer’s death, clearly the result of a violent hate crime, also underscores how U.S. militarization and unequal U.S. led agreements contribute to transphobic, transmisogynistic, and gendered violence. The U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and now the greatly expanded Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), further perpetuate hate crimes and state violence like that against Jennifer Laude to occur.

Over a month since her death, no criminal charges have been made, and the prime suspect still has not fully been handed over to the Philippine authorities for proper investigation. These events repeat a pattern of protection and immunity granted to a string of U.S. personnel who have committed sexual violence, murder, and other human rights abuses in the Philippines. GABRIELA USA joins the global campaign to support Laude’s family in seeking justice, and to demand an end to unequal military agreements that enable ongoing human rights abuses against the Filipino people and infringes upon the sovereignty of the Philippine nation.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., trans women are four times more likely to experience police harassment and violence than all others reporting police violence. In just one case, a Washington D.C. cop shot into a car of three trans women after one refused his attempt to solicit sex. In 2008, video footage caught Memphis police brutally beating a handcuffed trans woman, Duanna Johnson, in their custody; soon after the exposé, Johnson was fatally shot. The criminalization and detention of trans people of color increases.

We are inspired by freedom fighters like Cece McDonald, a Black trans woman who was harshly punished and imprisoned for defending herself against a transphobic attack, but remains steadfast as an outspoken organizer for trans justice and against state violence. We stand in solidarity with trans people of color who have suffered at the hands of state violence, from police brutality and the prison industrial complex, to U.S. militarization abroad.

We recognize the links between state violence against trans people within the U.S. and U.S. militarization globally, which perpetuate transmisogyny and a culture of violence targeting queer, trans, gender non-conforming, and people of color. We desire a world in which we don’t have to fear hate violence, police intimidation, losing our homes and livelihood, for being trans. We desire a world where we all may thrive, where the human rights of all are upheld, where we are celebrated in all our gender expressions and identities. We pledge to continue to educate our communities about the need to fight for justice and self determination for all trans and gender non-conforming people, while building safe and supportive spaces.

Trans Lives Matter!
End Violence Against Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People!
Healthcare, Housing and Human Rights for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People Now!
Justice for Jennifer Laude and for All Victims of Transphobia, Militarization, and State Violence!
Junk the VFA and EDCA! US Troops Out!

We request your support in the campaign for Justice for Jennifer Laude, and for an end to the VFA and EDCA. Please help us reach 1,000 signatures, by signing and forwarding our petition: bit.ly/justice4jennifer

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