Duterte is something of a self-styled expert on the question of who is and isn’t gay, if the frequency with which he makes the accusation is any indication. After accusing “most” priests in the Catholic church of being homosexual earlier in the year, during a speech Thursday he decided to ‘out’ a political opponent, and then himself.
According to local media, the outspoken leader relayed that anyone in the know would come to the same conclusion about his ardent critic, Senator Antonio Trillanes:
I said, “are you sure?” 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.
He then said that he made the decision to “become a man again” after meeting his former wife, before ambiguously adding “Duterte is gay. So I am gay, I don’t care if I’m gay or not.” The jury is still out on that one.
While he has never been quite so explicit, this is not the first time Duterte has hinted about his proclivities: In 2017, he joked about having considered bisexuality so he could “have fun both ways.”
That is apparently not the only thing he wants both ways, as he has also flip-flopped on the issue of legalizing gay marriage in the predominantly conservative Catholic country. While he claimed to be for the idea early on in his presidency, he later made statements saying the idea was in opposition to the country’s civil and religious principles.
Still, the news might give pause to progressives, who have criticized the leader for his tendency to make ‘homophobic’ comments. In 2016, for instance, he described being “pissed off” at US envoy Philip Goldberg, calling him a “gay ambassador, the son of a whore.”