'Homosexual acts are disordered': CFC-FFL condemns Ateneo Pride, draws flak online
MANILA, Philippines – The Filipino LGBTQ+ community is all set for the Metro Manila Pride March on Saturday, June 29. But with only a few days left before the big day, an organization, as if on cue, decided to rain on Pride's parade.
The Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL) publicly condemned Ateneo de Manila University’s "One Big Pride," the university's Pride March, which was held on March 15.
As part of a Catholic institution, the Ateneo community saw "One Big Pride" as a progressive step towards gender equality and inclusivity. (READ: ‘One Big Pride': Ateneo LGBTQIA+ community calls for acceptance on women’s month)
Three months after the march, CFC-FFL released a statement online on Wednesday, June 19, denouncing the celebration and raising certain points as "truths" that they believe need to be "reiterated" to the Catholic university.
“There are only two sexes as created by God, that is, male and female. Genders are social constructs, as we see with the continually evolving LGBTQIA+ genders. These have no basis in nature and reality,” read the statement, in which CFC-FFL also consistently described homosexuality as "disordered."
The CFC-FFL also claimed they are "certain" that members of the LGBTQ+ community in the Philippines do not experience discrimination and persecution.
“We aver that all persons deserve respect and compassion. In reality, gays in the Philippines are well accepted and not just tolerated. They certainly are not discriminated against nor persecuted,” CFC-FFL wrote, without statistics or research to back the claim.
The organization also listed scenarios for what they consider an "abominable" future.
Listed under "further deterioration of faith and morals" are the following:
Normalization and even celebration of homosexuality;
Legislation penalizing so-called "hate" speech when one speaks about homosexuality;
Gender inclusivity and acceptance of LGBT being taught to grade school children.
The abovementioned are notably some of the issues that the LGBTQ+ community continues to fight for.
On Tuesday, June 25, Ateneo's student government Sanggunian ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila responded to CFC-FFL, lambasting the church-based organization’s statement.
“This is how we build the nation – standing with the oppressed and committing ourselves to standing with a sector that has been systematically persecuted for existing,” Sanggunian wrote on their Facebook page.
“With the CFC-FFL dismissing this event and belittling the importance of this to both the individual and the LGBTQ+ community, they are effectively disrespecting the core values of our beloved Catholic and Jesuit institution that has stood strong and stood proud for 159 years.”
Hate in the guise of faith
The CFC-FFL statement brought the LGBTQ+ community and allies together, and they took their rage to the comments section. Many pointed out that the statement encourages hate toward the LGBTQ+ community, and contradicts the Catholic values of putting a premium on love.
A familiar Catholic name also commented on the thread, drawing reactions from netizens.
And Jesus (Falcis) said, “Keep your religion to yourself.”
Netizens also pointed out that the statement embodies neither respect nor compassion, contrary to its claims. Instead, it allows the LGBTQ+ members to become all the more vulnerable to violence and hate. (READ: Remembering 'Ganda': The tragedy of Jennifer Laude)
In their official response to the CFC-FFL's statement, the Sanggunian demanded the CFC-FFL to recognize the "harmful impositions" of their claims.
“This perpetuates not just conscious persecution, but the systematic violence committed against good and productive members of this nation by invalidating their experiences of gender identity, gender performance, and sexual orientation,” Sanggunian said.
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus regional coordinator Ryan Silverio also said in an interview that the CFC-FFL statements may influence Catholic schools to refrain from encouraging gender inclusivity among the students. It may also justify violence and intolerance among Catholic families – the most basic social unit of the Filipino society.
“Parents can use it as justification for violence: Threaten children [whom] they think are immoral, send them to conversion therapies to ‘correct them,’” Silverio told Rappler.
Father Richard Mickley, one of the founders of the Pride Movement in the Philippines, said that these statements only confirm and intensify the stigma against the LGBTQ+ community.
Worse, these statements ignite self-hate among LGBTQ+ members, Silverio emphasized.
“CFC tells us LGBTIQ folks that we are immoral, we are abnormal, we are worthy to be despised,” he explained.
“Too many LGBT+ people... have been driven to the closet of fear and despair by organizations like this pushing the official stand of the Catholic church,” added Mickley.
Pride is resistance
Incidents like this, according to Mickley, is the very reason why the LGBTQ+ community and its allies should march and resist together.
"Marches attempt to clarify the picture for the public. We are real people. We are your family members. We deserve to be who we are," he said.
The Sanggunian in their statement invited everyone to march on Saturday to stand with the LGBTQ+ community.
"In a time of oppression, it has never been more important to stay proud and stand tall alongside one another for our rights and for love," they wrote. – Rappler.com