Jennifer Laude was a woman of means, a transgender woman loved by family and friends. She was a human being, and due the respect most afford one another. Everyone of us has a preferred name we wish to be called by, be it a middle, first or surname or nickname and most are happy to respectfully do that. Everyone who’s cisgender when talking about other cisgender people, that is.
When would it be seemingly impossible to respectfully address another with their preferred name? It’s the name we live by that expresses our authentic self.
When she’s transgender and Filipino. Many of us, including myself cringed seeing the parentheses surrounding Jennifer’s name as Filipino media cast aspersions on her integrity and misgendered her. I chalked it up to linguistics. and cultural differences and shrugged it off. Apparently prematurely.
Pilipino transgender people are saying enough is enough. Her name is Jennifer.
Kate Montecarlo Cordova, Co-Chair at Asia and Pacific Transgender Network, Co-Chair at Asia Pacific Transgender Network and Founder and Chairwoman at Association of Transgenders in the Philippines wrote:
I have been quoted from different news articles and news feature stories here and abroad and they used my preferred name. They did not care even less about my legal name.
So why it is a big deal for our media reporters if we ask them to address Jennifer as she and refer her as Jennifer rather than her legal name?
She had lived her life as Jennifer. That’s simple and easy to understand. What are they afraid of using Jennifer alone?
The only ones who know the legal name of Jennifer are here family, relatives, neighbors, former classmates ( some of them may have forgotten her legal name already). So to whom are they news reporting to?
Well, I am just wondering if there’s a heavy deliberation or intellectual discussion inside the newsroom on this issue.
Just asking cause I don’t understand the difference. Is there a difference if the person is still alive and a person is already dead?
If I die, will I be reported with a high emphasis on my legal name? Tsk tsk!
News Editors, isip isip din!
Marrian Pio Roda Ching at the Philippine Daily Inquirer wrote a great article Her Name is Jennifer
A quick Google search using the search term “Jennifer Laude” will show us an easily corrected but continuously peddled mistake.
In identifying the victim, a network uses “Jeffrey Laude alias ‘Jennifer,’” and another settles for “Jeffrey Laude also known as ‘Jennifer.’” An online news outlet explained its use of the name “Jeffrey Laude” by saying, “We based it on the legal documents. But we acknowledge that Jeffrey Laude was also known as ‘Jennifer,’ as mentioned in the story.”
They “acknowledge” she was “also” known as Jennifer? Excuse us all who raise hell over her name, but she was known to family and friends as Jennifer, and introduced herself as Jennifer. There is no other name she chose to identify with but Jennifer.
How hard is it to say her name?
We, in many parts of the world have been engaged in this battle for years. Just when we feel like we have made substantive gains along comes another battle to wage
So it is with the case of Jennifer Laude.
Benign0, the web master at popular “Get Real Phillipines” is a prime example of the people we have to engage to win. His recent article “No, his name is NOT Jennifer. It’s Jeffrey” is symptomatic of the country’s systemic misogynistic transphobic media that Philippine transgender people now face ..
In 2012 Benign0 wrote
Personally, the idea of engaging in a male homosexual act is deeply revolting to me in much the same way as I am repulsed by the idea of having sex with my mother or sister
If I was a Fox News station I’d leave his quote as proof of his phobia, but that wouldn’t be ‘fair and balanced’.
In all fairness benign0’s article continues on to be a deeply reflective painfuly honest look at his ingrained bigotry and how it conflicts his desire to treat others different from himself with dignity.
So kudo’s to BenigO for that. But why not a deep introspective look into why you find it so hard to call transgender people by our authentic names.
BenigO, you could start by calling her Jennifer.
When I began reporting on her murder I was flabbergasted at the media for venturing that she might have been murdered after being caught stealing from the Marine.
Would any respectful mainstream media outlet talk about a cisgender woman’s death as has been done with Jennifer’s? I’m a neophyte on reporting on Filipino transgender deaths so I can only say I hope they don’t.