Trigger warning: This post contains details of a brutal murder and alleged rape.
A transgender rights organization based in the Philippines reported the brutal death of Ebeng Mayor, a trans man that had been missing for three days. The Transman Equality and Awareness Movement – Philippines reported Mayor’s body was discovered yesterday showing evidence of rape and genital mutilation. The group demanded a full investigation into what they called a hate crime.
“Today, we lost a member of the trans masculine community to a brutal criminal act,” the group posted to Facebook, adding their body showed signs of mutilation “before their rape and murder,” and that a “wooden stick was found shoved into their genitalia.”
Few other details were provided by the group regarding the life and murder of Mayor, who was from Batasan Hills, Quezon City. Transman Equality described the condition of their body as “a clear indication of a hate crime” in their call for a full investigation. No further details regarding suspects or the state of the police investigation were available. Transman Equality said Mayor’s murder affirmed the need to pass the much-delayed Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression Equality Bill (SOGIE), that codifies into law protections against discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
The LGBTQ+ community in the Philippines is still reeling over the case of Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old a transgender woman who was murdered in 2014 by U.S. Marine Joseph Pemberton. Pemberton had strangled Laude and drowned her in the toilet of a short-term motel in Olangapo after discovering during a sex act that Laude was transgender. The marine from New Bedford, Massachusetts, used a trans panic defense at trial, which was closed to the press and public. Even though he was found guilty of murder in 2015, Pemberton received a reduced sentence of 6 to 12 years in jail in part because of his defense strategy. Pemberton received a full pardon in September of last year, and was immediately deported to the U.S. where he faces a court martial.
While no numbers were readily available to quantify the violence against the trans community in the Philippines, the trans folks continue to be killed in the U.S. at an alarming rate. 2020 saw 44 trans lives violently taken, a record for a single calendar year. Sadly, 2021 is proving even more deadly with 26 violent deaths so far this year in less than five months.