MALABON CITY – In what may appear to be a pro-LGBTQIA statement, Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte said that LGBTQIA community members have nothing to be ashamed of because they are also made by God.
During the proclamation rally of PDP-LABAN candidates in Malabon City, Duterte also said that he has family members who are members of the LGBTQIA community, including two brothers-in-law (“dalawa kong bayaw, kapatid ng asawa ko, first wife ko, bakla”).”
Duterte is known for off the cuff remarks, and in Malabon City, even claiming not to want to give any speeches but just to “converse” with the people.
To contextualize, though, Duterte’s statement was but part of a longer speech that was still riddled with misogynistic statements (e.g. “lending of a wife to another man who is still able to get an erection), as well as stereotypes on SOGIE (e.g. disbelief in a “macho” gay guy being the “woman” in a relationship).
All the same, Duterte stressed: “God created all of us. Male, female, tomboy, pati bakla (lesbians and even gay men). Bakit man natin i-ano ‘yan (Why would we question/criticize that)?”
The President has been repeatedly criticized in the past for equating being “bakla (gay)” with cowardice; even as he also signed an anti-discrimination ordinance for LGBTQIA human rights while serving as mayor of Davao City.
Duterte also said he does not support same-sex marriage (because of the law of the land), but supports civil union. Nationally, though, the anti-discrimination bill (ADB) and the bill on civil union are not considered priority bills by the Duterte administration.