Rodrigo Duterte has crafted a reputation for anti-gay statements as president of the Philippines, but the politician revealed this week that he himself was once gay — until he was “cured” through his relationship with his first wife.
Duterte’s tenure as president has been marked with controversy as he led violent purges of drug dealers, clashed with human rights agencies, and made statements seen as anti-gay. As CNN Philippines reported, Duterte made a shocking admission this week when he said that he had once been gay himself and invited women on stage at a political event to kiss him so he could prove how he had been cured.
The admission came during a speech in which Duterte attacked a political rival, former Navy officer Antonio Trillanes IV, who is a married father of two children. Nevertheless, Duterte claimed that a gay person had confided to him that Trillanes was homosexual, and the person could tell from the way Trillanes moved.
“I said, ‘Are you sure?'” Duterte said, via Rappler. “They said, ‘You ask any gay person who sees Trillanes move, they’ll say he’s gay.’ No wonder. Good thing Trillanes and I are similar. But I cured myself.”
Duterte then called a group of women on stage to kiss him and prove that he had been cured of homosexuality.
After being elected, Duterte said that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, though he would later flip and told a crowd at an LGBTQ gathering that he thought same-sex marriage should be allowed. Duterte has also been known to use gay slurs when referring to political opponents.
Duterte has struck a reputation for saying what is on his mind and not adhering to political norms. As mayor of Davao City, Duterte bragged about leading — and even taking part in — death squads that took out drug dealers. Critics say these groups have been a loose front to go after political enemies, and there have reportedly been thousands of killings since Duterte’s win in the country’s presidential race.
Being gay is NOT a disease. There is nothing to cure.
If President Duterte is the ally he claims to be then he needs to stop using gay people as a punchline. https://t.co/zYaPBS90qV
— ????Metro Manila Pride (@mmprideorg) May 31, 2019
Rodrigo Duterte has also found himself in trouble for his dark and often controversial sense of humor, including frequent jokes about rape. The penchant for saying what is on his mind has also gotten Duterte in trouble, as it did shortly after taking office when he referred to American president Barack Obama as a “son of a b**ch,” leading Obama to abruptly cancel a planned visit to the Philippines.
“I always want to make sure that if I’m having a meeting, that it’s actually productive and we’re getting something done,” Obama told reporters as he called off the planned meeting, via CNBC.