Laude’s deception, Pemberton’s conviction, and the reality of trans-panic

Laude’s deception, Pemberton’s conviction, and the reality of trans-panic

Judge Roline Jinez Jabalde of the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 ruled last Tuesday that United States Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton is “guilty beyond reasonable doubt” of killing Filipina transgender Jennifer Laude. Her death was ruled a homicide, and as such, Pemberton was sentenced to 6 to 12 years imprisonment. He was also told to pay Laude’s family over P4 million in damages.

Laude’s family immediately described the ruling as an incomplete victory because they sought Pemberton’s conviction for murder, which can potentially put the American soldier behind bars for up to forty years. Is it a just verdict? Considering the deception involved, it is understandable although I think P4 million is not enough for compensation.

joseph scott pemberton
Joseph Scott Pemberton, the US Marine accused of killing a Filipino transgender (Photo taken from his Facebook page)

At this point, let me elaborate on the concept of “trans-panic defense,” which is being described as the main reason why the case was lowered from murder to homicide. Perhaps some transgender activists will criticize me for saying this: trans panic is real. I do not care about “trans panic defense.”

The legal intricacies of that is up for the courts to decide. I am interested in the “trans panic” that happens inside the car, on the street corner, and in the bedroom. When a straight man assaults a pre-op transsexual upon knowing what she really is after they fool around, that is trans panic. There is no pre-meditation – only complete shock.

I know why it is real. The assault happens instantaneously and so quick like it is an involuntary, autonomic, and reflex response. I experienced it. Many pre-op transsexuals (those who are yet to undergo a sex change) experienced it. Some perished, while others survived. We should not really be denying what harms us. If we continue propagating that trans panic is bogus, we are not really helping our fellow transsexuals. We must recognize it for our own safety.



It is really time for us transsexuals to talk about the dangers of deception and picking up straight men to validate our femininity and womanhood. That one calls for a “wa buking” seminar/forum/workshop. I share this old post, so people will understand Laude’s cheating. Maybe they will stop blaming and demonizing her after knowing why some pre-op transsexuals lie, deceive straight men, and conceal their transsexual status.

The lesson here is really not to deceive people if you do not want to be hurt or killed. I will not tire repeating this: “trans panic” is real. The Laude and Pemberton case is the proof. If you value your life, tell the truth when you want to sleep with someone. Not all men crave for transgenders. Put that in your head.

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Miyako Izabel

Miyako Izabel is a Filipino transsexual blogger and agent provocateur on Facebook who believes that the Philippines needs more public intellectuals.

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