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U.S. Marine Identified, Charged in Murder of Filipina Transwoman

PembertonJoseph Scott Pemberton [pictured right] has been identified as the U.S. Marine connected to the murder of Jennifer Laude Sueselbeck, a 26 year-old transgender Filipina woman [pictured below]. Pemberton, 19, is a private first class from New Bedford, Massachusetts and a recent high school graduate. While Filipino authorities have filed murder charges against Pemberton, Marine officials have said that he will remain within U.S. custody.

"Under the Visiting Forces Agreement, the custody of the erring soldier stays with the Americans," said General Gregorio Catapang, head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. “[This incident will] not affect our relationship with the United States.”

Though the Marines have expressed that they will coordinate with Filipino authorities, LGBT rights groups have called for a temporary suspension of the Visiting Forces Agreement to ensure that Pemberton will be held accountable.

"We call for the immediate junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement,” the Bayan Queer Caucus intoned in a written statement. “[It has] been proven to not protect the rights of the Filipino people but are in favor of protecting the U.S. troops and its imperialist power."

The Associated Press adds:

LaudePolice suspect Pemberton may have been angered when he discovered in the motel room that Laude was a transgender individual or because of an argument sparked by other reasons.

Activists have held almost daily protests demanding that the U.S. hand over Pemberton to Philippine authorities and calling for the abolition of the Visiting Forces Agreement. The agreement allows U.S. forces to join large-scale combat exercises with Filipino troops and permits the U.S. to take custody of its soldiers who run afoul of Philippine laws.


Charice Talks Gender, Sexuality with Oprah: 'My Soul is Male' — VIDEO

Charice

Charice, a singer and actress (Sunshine Corazon on Glee) who rose to fame via YouTube and was the first Asian solo singer to land in the Billboard 200 Top ten album chart, made international headlines when she came out of the closet as a lesbian in 2013.

On a new episode of Oprah's Where Are They Now?, Charice talks more about coming out, saying she knew she was gay at age 6, and also talks about her gender identity:

"Basically my soul is a male. But I'm not going to go through that stage where I'm gonna change everything - not change my body. I would change like, this look, like cut my hair, and wear boy clothes, but that's all."

Charice has a prior relationship with Oprah, having debuted her 2010 single "Pyramid" on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Watch the interview along with an Oprah segment highlighting Charice's chance to sing with Celine Dion at Madison Square Garden in 2008, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Charice Talks Gender, Sexuality with Oprah: 'My Soul is Male' — VIDEO" »


Laverne Cox Talks New Show, Jenji Kohan, and 'Telling the T' on 'The View': VIDEO

Cox

Laverne Cox stopped by "The View" on Tuesday, gabbing with Rosie O'Donnell and Nicole Wallace. Tragically, Whoopi Goldberg wasn't there for this segment, so we didn't get another taste of their rapport.

For the most part, Cox spoke about her new project Logo documentary "The T Word." The doc follows the lives of young transgender people, who Cox points out face (on the whole) less adversity than you might have feared. Two of the show's castmembers were in attendance at "The View."

Cox also joked, defining the "T" in "T word," giving "trans" as a definition, but also pointing out the usage found among queens on "RuPaul's Drag Race." "T means truth," Cox said, with a laugh. "Trans folks started that by the way!" 

Cox talked her early days as an actress — working in independent film. She also talked her breakthrough — getting cast in "Orange is the New Black." Cox describes the serendipity of finding the show; in the early stages of casting Jenji Kohan had (jokingly) said: "We need to hire someone on this show, and ideally, they will have a twin brother." Along came Laverne and the rest is history.

Check out the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Laverne Cox Talks New Show, Jenji Kohan, and 'Telling the T' on 'The View': VIDEO" »


U.S. Marine Probed In Murder Of Filippino Transgender Woman - VIDEO

Marine accused of transgender filippino woman murder

Police in the Philippines preparing to file murder charges against a U.S. marine suspected of killing a transgender woman will ask American officials to arrange the marine's surrender, reports Bloomberg.

An October 12th police report identified the victim as Jeffrey Laude - also known as Jennifer - who was found dead in a motel bathroom in Olongapo City. Laude had been strangled.

Witness Elias Gallamos said Laude entered Celzone Lodge on the evening of Saturday, October 11th with an “unidentified male white foreigner” aged between 25 and 30 with a marine “style of haircut.”

A friend of Laude said that after she met the foreign man in a nightclub, Laude became uneasy because the man hadn’t realized they were transgender. The friend also identified the marine in a photo lineup.

Vowing to investigate the allegations, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement:

“We are aware of the situation and express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. We are also aware that there are allegations that a foreigner, including possibly a US national, was involved in the incident. We are currently looking into these allegations and working closely with the Philippine National Police to take all necessary steps to help identify the suspects.”

A report in May showed that 102 transgender people across 14 countries had been murdered up in the first five months of the year.

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "U.S. Marine Probed In Murder Of Filippino Transgender Woman - VIDEO" »


NYC Transgender Woman In Critical Condition Following Hate Crime Attack: VIDEO

Suspects

New York police are hunting for four men who beat a 28-year-old transgender woman unconscious in Brooklyn on Sunday night, reports the Daily News. Two of the suspects are pictured above, captured on a local store's surveillance camera.

Bushwick and halsey new york mapThe woman, a client of New Alternatives for Homeless LGBT Youth, was attacked on Bushwick Ave. and Halsey St. at around 11:20 p.m.

According to witnesses, the victim was nearing the corner when the attackers started yelling "faggot." When the woman yelled back, the group followed her, kicking her repeatedly until she fell to the ground. Reported to be in a critical condition, she was struck with a plexiglass board and knocked unconscious while on the ground.

New Alternatives executive director Kate Barnhart said that it is not clear if the victim will have permanent brain damage.

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Last month, police in New York arrested and charged two men and a teenage boy with menacing, third-degree hate crime and assault in the first degree after they chased and shot at a gay man in Brooklyn. The victim was dressed as a woman at the time of the attack.

Watch a CBS New York report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "NYC Transgender Woman In Critical Condition Following Hate Crime Attack: VIDEO" »


Georgia Transgender Teen Elected to School's Homecoming Court

In what is believed to be a first for the state, a transgender high school student in Georgia has been elected to homecoming court, The Marietta Daily Journal reports:

Sage lovellSage Lovell, 16, was one of about 50 other girls in the junior class who were first nominated for homecoming court. The junior class then elected her and three other young women to serve on the court. She is not eligible for homecoming queen since that position is only offered to seniors.

Sage said she is excited she was chosen, and has received support from many of her classmates, who came up to her and told her they were going to vote for her.

“I’m so flattered to be representing my school, to be, like, able to, like, just represent my entire junior class,” she said.

Sage's father, Joseph Lovell, has been supportive throughout her daughter's transition and plans on escorting Sage onto the football field Friday.

“It’s very important for young people to be who they are and that’s just the whole point of life,” the computer programmer said. “It’s not important for people to be what society wants but for people to be who they are, who they want. I can’t make you be something that you are not and if I could, it would be something very uncomfortable for you, very sad for you and I just feel like everyone needs to have the opportunity to be who they are no matter how much someone else might not like it. You can see that all over the world and it all starts at home.”

[photo via Twitter]


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