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Panelo to LGBT: Be glad of Duterte’s remarks on his sexuality

MANILA, Philippines — The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community should be “glad” about President Duterte’s remarks that he had “cured” himself of homosexuality with the help of beautiful women.

“The remarks meant that he had ‘changed’ his sexual preferences,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo. “What’s wrong [with that]?”

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In a speech before the Filipino community in Tokyo, Japan last week, the President said he used to be gay, but that he was “cured” of homesexuality because of his exposure to beautiful women like his partner, Cielito Avancena.

The joke, according to some LGBT activists, was “counterproductive and demeaning,” especially since the World Health Organization had stopped classifying homosexuality as a disorder almost three decades ago and defines it now as “sexual orientation.”

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“Let me say that the President is always conscious of not offending the sensibilities of these special classes. He is a kind person,” Panelo said.

The President’s latest unfiltered remarks were preceded by criticism of his high-profile critic, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, whom he described as gay. He added that they are “similar,” though he “became a man again” when he met his wife.

Although the President voiced support for same-sex marriage during his 2016 campaign, he later backtracked.

Bahaghari, a gay and transgender advocacy group, said Duterte’s comments were dangerous and retrograde, and “symptomatic of ignorance, prejudice and hate.” —With reports from AFP

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TAGS: Cielito Avanceña, Duterte on homosexuality, Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo
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