How Do Filipinos Feel About Manny Pacquiao’s Homophobic Slurs?
While Wikipedia says the Philippines is one of the gay-friendliest nations in the world, five days ago, in a 28-second video, Philippine senatorial candidate and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao spun the country 180° with a statement about the gay community. Uploaded by Bilang Pilipino, the Facebook page for a TV network for election coverage, Pacquiao confidently expressed his thoughts on same-sex marriage:
“For me, it’s common sense […] Have you seen any animal having male-on-male or female-on-female relations? Animals are better because they recognize gender differences. And if you have male-on-male or female-on-female [relationships] then those people are worse than animals.”
Common sense, huh?
Just hours after it was uploaded, the internet was flooded with comments. Some of the most notable ones are from the boxer’s apparel sponsor Nike, Filipina singer-actress Lea Salonga who left her Twitter followers with something to ponder about, and Magic Johnson who was full support on Nike’s move.
It’s pretty alarming in more angles than one that someone with such kind of thinking aims a seat in the senate. But this is more than politics. The Philippines does not have any law tailored for LGBTQ+ civil rights. Its Anti-Discrimination Bill is still on rough roads. In a 2015 Huffington Post article, the Philippines was tagged as having “one of worst records of violence against the trans community.” I perfectly understand where Pacquiao’s coming from – he’s entitled to his religion and his beliefs — and yes, I value that. But each time the Philippine Catholic Church, or any religion for that matter, releases statements against same-sex marriage, their delivery is far from compassionate. In a country where the LGBTQ+ community is still a major target for discrimination and harassment, statements like Manny’s do more damage than what most people think.
Facebook user Pol Dots is on point with their post:
Since Feb.15, Pacquiao hasn’t stopped releasing statements about this issue. He even posted a three-part apology saying his only mistake was “comparing humans to animals” and for that, he is “sorry.”
So, how are the Filipinos reacting to this? Well, of course, many were angry. Some are from the LGBTQ community, and other are allies. But by the looks of their tweets, clearly their Fierce Mode is turned on.
(“So embarrassing to Manny Pacquiao!!! THE LGBT IS SO EMBARRASSED FOR YOUR WOMANIZING ACTS. You keep on highlighting and presenting the bible yet you’re so dumb! You didn’t even accomplish anything in the congress! What law did you worked on you ****? I’m so not regretting when I prayed for you to lose your fights! ***!”)
This one shows us where their respect is:
This one from IG is M-A-D too:
021716: Bieng a Homosexual is a HUMAN RIGHT and a REALITY. we are Born completely in Gods Divine right and Image, nobody has a truthfull right and power to strongly condemn the birthright of a human being. LOVE IS BY CHOICE NOT A PROTOCOL ,wether if you’re straight or Not, We are born to write our own stories and it is also our Right to Stand against someones hurtful comments.palibhasa walang pinag-aralan @mannypacquiao #mannypacquiao #lgbtph #lgbt
There were also those who kept their chill:
(“I’m worse than animals only when in bed.” )
This one wants Manny to just…
Of course, there are those who agree with Manny:
At the end of the day, it’s undeniable that even with his supporters, Pacquiao hurt both his own cause and LGBTQ+ Filipinos with his homophobic slur. In an uncut version, he even clarified that “I’m not condemning them [people in same-sex relationship], just the marriage, committing sin against God.” But Filipinos believe in different gods and some don’t have any. Pacquiao may have apologized, but that for LGBTQ+ Filipinos, that’s not enough. Apology is one thing, but acting upon something that clearly needs action is another.
LGBT Ecclesiastical Church founding Pastor Crescencio Agbayani Jr. said the boxing champ should have a real dialogue with them. “If he does not like same-sex marriage then it’s okay, but I want him to see the different LGBTs in the Philippines, on the struggles in their lives because of the effects of his statement that we are worse than animals,” says Agbayani. The LGBT Ecclesiastical church is one of the few churches in the country that holds unofficial gay marriages.
Well, Manny: What’cha think?
Part-poet, part-writer, and full-blooded human megaphone of the oppressed, Tammy covers heavy topics like civil war and human trafficking. To keep herself sane, she also writes about pop culture, travel, entrepreneurship, and anything gay. She gets by with the vintage smell of typewriter and sound of tattoo machines.