Presidential daughter and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is gunning for the second highest post of the land in the May 2022 elections, said she identifies with the LGBTQIA community, just as she called for respect and non-discrimination of LGBTQIA Filipinos.
Recalling an occurrence during her “Mahalin Natin Ang Pilipinas” campaign, Duterte-Carpio said one supporter once told her that “mahal ka namin dahil mahal mo ang LGBT.” But “sabi ko naman sa kanya, ‘Paanong hindi ko ba mamahalin ang LGBT e LGBT din ako?’.”
But Duterte-Carpio said that she is not attracted towards woman. Instead, she is only drawn to doing work stereotypically associated with men; just as there would be times she expresses herself in ways stereotypically associated with me.
Tackling gender stereotyping, Duterte-Carpio said that “ang sinasabi nila ang lalaki maikli ang buhok, ang babae mahaba ang buhok. Kaya po minsan nakikita ninyo maikli ang buhok ko; gusto ko po maging lalaki nyan. Pag ayaw ko na po maging lalaki, pinapahaba ko po ang aking buhok.”
An employee, who is part of the LGBTQIA community, reportedly informed her that her sexual orientation is female, but her gender expression is male.
All the same, Duterte-Carpios stressed: “Do not allow people to define you (be)cause of your beliefs, because of your gender, because of your age.”
In Davao City, Duterte-Carpio’s administration established the Rainbow Magnegsyo Ta Day, a livelihood training and business capital assistance program for members of the LGBTQIA community.
Duterte-Carpio’s pronouncements received varying reactions from members of the local LGBTQIA community.
There are those who support her, like the alliance group LGBT Pilipinas, which declared its “unequivocal support to the Uniteam BBM-Sara tandem”, citing that this will ensure continuity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “historic recognition” of LGBTQIA people.
But those aligned with opposition candidate, Vice President Leni Robredo, are not convinced with Duterte-Carpio’s said-to-be pandering to the LGBTQIA community.
For her part, Ms Naomi Fontanos of trans organization GANDA Filipinas Inc. said this is “queer baiting”. Posting her reaction on Facebook, Fontanos said that “no, Inday, sporting short hair doesn’t make one a man. Saying so affirms traditional gender roles that are oppressive to the #LGBTIQ community w/c you’re falsely claiming to be part of.”
Fontanos is, instead, pushing for Duterte-Carpio to sign the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Davao City’s anti-discrimination ordinance to “give it teeth”.
For Rey Valmores-Salinas, Bahaghari Kamaynilaan chairperson, stated that “being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community is not a badge to be worn all of a sudden during elections: it is a lifelong struggle in a world steeped with deep hatred and exclusion of our community.”