Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte has revealed that he was confused over his own sexuality and that he did not know if wanted to be a boy or girl during his adolescence. Speaking about his views on homosexuality, the firebrand leader threw his weight behind gay marriages in the Philippines in a move that will likely put him at loggerheads with the country's Catholic Church.
Speaking at an LGBT gathering in Davao, he also revealed that one point he thought he would become a bisexual because he could "have fun both ways, but, that did not happen," Duterte joked.
"I said I am for [same] sex marriage if that is the trend of the modern times. If that will add to your happiness, I am for it," he told the gathering in home-town. The Filipino leader, known for his expletive-laden tirade and the notorious drug war, said he is strongly against discrimination based on sexual orientation and that he has two gay brothers-in-law in his family.
"Why impose a morality that is no longer working and almost passé. It's leftover rice," Duterte added.
He even went on to say that he is ready to take gay lawmakers in his cabinet and insisted the legislation could also be changed to allow same-sex marriages in the Philippines, a Catholic-majority Southeast Asian nation. Although the existing law explicitly states a marriage is a union between a man and a woman, the Philippines has a reputation for being a largely LGBT-friendly nation unlike some of its conservative neighbours.
"I want gay marriage. The problem is we have to change the law, but we can change the law," said the Filipino president.
The presidential spokesman later confirmed Duterte's support for gay marriage and insisted Duterte aims to be an inclusive leader. "President Duterte is the president of all Filipinos. This administration has long espoused inclusivity and sensitivity. We make no distinction. We are all Filipinos enjoying our rights, freedom and equality before the law," read a statement from the presidential office after Duterte's remarks.
Duterte had at least once used a homophobic slur against the chief of the country's human rights commission. In September 2017, Duterte hit back at Chito Gascon: "Why are you smitten with teenagers? Are you? I'm having my doubts. Are you gay or a paedophile?" after the human rights advocate's criticism of the government's handling of the drug war.