Jessa Lojo was only 18 years old when she jumped to her death from the fifth floor of a Mandaluyong City mall on Monday morning, October 24th. This was a day after she posted a video of her kissing her 17-year-old girlfriend (who was not named due to her status as a minor) on her Facebook page.
This is the second mall related suicide this year in that area, 48-year-old Madonna Tuazon being the first, last February 14th.
Lojo seemed to have decided to commit suicide after being reprimanded by her aunt after seeing the video on her account. Chan Mae Pontillo, a friend of the victim’s sister, had been with Lojo during her last moments. She described Lojo to be distraught over the entire situation, fearing what her family would think after seeing the video, and refused to be brought to her sister, Irene.
The victim instead insisted that Pontillo accompany her to the Divine Mercy Church in Maysilo Circle, but later changed her mind and decided to go to the Mandaluyong mall instead. After reaching the fifth floor, Lojo hugged Pontillo from behind, let go and ran to jump off the edge before Pontillo could register what was happening.
(source article via Inquirer)
Although there are movements presently working to create a healthier environment for the LGBT community in the Philippines, rejection and discrimination are still rampant among the conservatives. The stigma against LGBTs has made itself known again in this incident, and the problematic approach of outing and casting aside a person based on their sexuality has proven to have serious and tragic consequences.
Lojo, after experiencing the scrutiny of a family member over her own sexuality, had chosen to take her own life over the matter, not unlike several members of the LGBT community in the past. This only highlights the need for support for our LGBT countrymen, to prevent these incidents from ever occurring again. Had the victim gotten the support and acceptance of her family members, she wouldn’t have chosen to jump to her death.
Although the Philippines is known to be the most ‘tolerant’ of homosexuals in the Asia-Pacific region after Australia, it is far from the real ‘acceptance’ that the gay and lesbian community is aiming for.
Jessa Lojo was a freshman BS Physical Education student from the Rizal Technological University with what could have been a promising future ahead of her. May she rest in peace.