Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said he was once gay but “cured” himself by marrying a woman in remarks aimed at his political opponent, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, on Thursday.
Said Duterte of Trillanes, who is gay: “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.”
“When I began a relationship with [ex-wife Elizabeth] Zimmerman, I said, this is it. I became a man again.” He added: “Duterte is gay. So I am gay, I don’t care if I’m gay or not.”
In 2017, Duterte told a group of LGBT people in his home town of Davao City that he supports same-sex marriage and, vowing to protect their rights, told them to nominate a representative to work in his government.
Duterte’s history, as described by Towleroad’s Luis Damian Veron:
Before Trump and his Twitter account there was Duterte, similarly known for blustering insults and trying-too-hard womanizing, shifting policies on a whim from one day to the next, and being elected last year without a majority of the popular vote. He has gotten into hot water for wolf-whistling at a woman reporter during a press conference, praising the wonders of Viagra during a formal speech, making a joke about the gang rape of an Australian missionary, and calling then-President Obama a “son of a bitch” and telling him to go to hell, presumably because he thought it made him look tough. (Ever the charmer, he also insulted the American ambassador with a homophobic slur.) Behind all of the bravado lies a draconian, ill-conceived drug war that has led to the extrajudicial killings of thousands from which even children are not safe.