For many people watching along the streets of Olongapo City, the spectacle that is the funeral procession for transgender woman Jennifer Laude speaks of many things.
To the religious, it is an indirect acceptance of the lesbian, gays, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) community into the Roman Catholic mainstream, something that was previously a cause of concern. This is the first time that a transgender woman’s funeral has been thrust into the spotlight and together, the issues surrounding it.
For the LGBT community, it is a chance to put forward the rights of their kind, while battling the shaming that is ongoing not only in the streets but in social media as well.
For Olongapo residents, the public opinion, good or bad, on the economic activity the US ships bring is in full swing. Olongapo and its surrounding towns once flourished beside the American base. Thus, simply closing the door on the Americans is not an outright decision to make.
The Laude case has put forward all these discussions with a cast of thousands in the mix.
As Jennifer Laude is laid to rest, the discourse on the presence of US personnel seems to have only just begun.
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