Manny Pacquiao, the boxing champion and Philippine Senator, is stirring the pot once again. In making a case against a proposed LGBT legislation, he has apparently tried to justify the actions of a murderer. The legislation in question is Senate Bill 1271: a bill that would prohibit discrimination of others on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
“Even in the Bible, we can read that women should dress as women; and men should dress as men,” Manny Pacquiao said in Filipino. He then cited the case of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton. In 2014, Pemberton killed a Jennifer Laude after finding out she was a transgender.
Being Transgender As Fraud?
In December 2014, Pemberton had engaged in sexual activity with Jennifer Laude, a Filipina sex worker. Laude had not transitioned completely, meaning she still had a male sex organ. Pemberton discovered the fact after Laude had performed oral sex on him, and was so “disgusted and repulsed” that he pushed Laude away. The two got into a brief physical altercation which ended with Pemberton choking Laude to death.
Pemberton later relayed that he felt like he had been “raped by another man”. He has since been sentenced to six to twelve in prison for homicide. His actions were not ruled as “murder”, since the judge ruled there had been no “treachery, use of superior force, and cruelty”, which define murder under Philippine law.
Manny Pacquiao suggested that Laude had actually committed fraud in that scenario by crossdressing. “What can we do there, when a man dresses as a woman, and the other man is alarmed, ‘you’re actually a man’, then kills them?” he said in Filipino. The boxer-turned-Senator goes on to suggest that Laude had actually been deceptive.
— Manny Pacquiao (@PacquiaoTweets) February 14, 2017
Fellow Senator Risa Hontiveros has urged Manny Pacquiao to avoid victim-blaming. She cites numerous other existing laws against sexual harassment, fraud, and voyeurism. She points out that such reasoning does not justify the act of violence or murder on a fellow human being.
The Question Of Transgenderism
The question of classifying being transgender as a mental illness remains a topic of debate. According to a 2016 report by the Chicago Tribune, “gender dysphoria” continues to be classified as a mental illness. However, the argument against that classification points out that a transgender person’s anxiety comes from the way society treats them, not being transgender itself.
The Philippine Senate Bill in question, doesn’t seek to answer that question just yet. But it does however, seek to end unequal treatment for the LGBT community. Discriminatory practices would include: forcing them to disclose their sexual orientation in any form of work; refusing admission or service in any establishment; or subjecting them to physical or verbal harassment.