Content warning: This article discusses transphobia, anti-trans violence and murder
Not too long after the release of trans woman Jennifer Laude’s convicted killer US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, we are struck with another heart-wrenching case of anti-trans violence. Today, the body of 23-year-old trans woman Donna Nierra was found floating in a river located in Barangay Bagong Silang, Caloocan. #JusticeforDonnaNierra trended as many shared their grief and anger.
According to ABS-CBN News, Nierra’s father shared that she bid him goodbye before leaving their house last Saturday, Sept. 26, but she never returned. In the morning of Sept. 28, Monday, Nierra’s friends visited their home to inform the family that her body was found in a river. Her family confirmed that the body is Donna’s soon after arriving at the scene.
Caloocan City Police are handling the investigation for the case and have yet to identify a suspect or a motive to the crime. Nierra’s family share that she hasn’t been in any disputes but her sister Mae Ann says that it’s possible that her killer is someone from the neighborhood.
Several LGBTQ+ advocacy groups have extended their support to Donna Nierra’s family and their demand for justice. Militant alliance Bahaghari wrote in a tweet, “While we mourn the denial of justice for our sister Jennifer Laude, another trans life is violently taken away. It is time the state acknowledge this as an emergency! We demand the urgent passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill!”
Kaisa ng Metro Manila Pride ang komunidad sa pagdadalamhati at galit, para sa isa na namang brutal na pagpatay sa kapatid naming trans woman––si Donna Nierra, na natagpuan sa Caloocan matapos maiulat na nawawala noong Sabado, ika-26 ng Setyembre. 1/6#JusticeForDonnaNierrapic.twitter.com/JxH9aP7X2Q
“Kaisa ng Metro Manila Pride ang komunidad sa pagdadalamhati at galit, para sa isa na namang brutal na pagpatay sa kapatid naming trans woman—si Donna Nierra,” wrote Metro Manila Pride. “Kinakalampag namin ang gobyerno na magsagawa ng tamang mga hakbang upang matigil na ang karahasang tinatamasa ng mga trans women. Tinatawagan namin ang komunidad na walang-maliw na isulong ang pag-pasa ng Anti-Discrimination Bill, upang mabigyang-pansin—at sa huli’y, mawakasan—ang diskriminasyon at karahasang nararanasan ng mga LGBTQIA+ na Pilipino at mabigyang-halaga ang aming mga buhay.”
We call upon the Philippine government to take the necessary steps to provide protection for our trans sisters. The passing of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill is long overdue. Prioritizing the safety of the LGBTQ+ community should not be up for discussion. In a better world, we shouldn’t have to pressure officials before they realize the urgency of this matter. But in the one we’re living in, we will not stop until our demand is met.