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#ShowThePope: How Filipinos treat LGBTs

Jee Y. Geronimo
#ShowThePope: How Filipinos treat LGBTs
Netizens #ShowThePope two faces of the Philippines when it comes to gay rights: sometimes breeding 'discrimination,' sometimes 'open and loving'

MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to the Philippines is drawing mixed reactions from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Netizens raised gay rights as one of the key issues in Rappler’s #ShowThePope, an ongoing crowdsourcing effort to answer the question: What do you want the Pope to see in the Philippines? 

Using the hashtag #ShowThePope, Jeff Crisostomo (@jeffcrisostomo) on Monday, December 22, tweeted a photo of a man protesting during this year’s Quezon City Pride March.

The protester held two placards that read: “Sexual immorality; the road to AIDS and hell” and “Only Jesus Christ can save you from sin and hell!”

Crisostomo wrote in his tweet: “I’d #ShowThePope that the twisted interpretation of religion leads to discrimination against LGBTs.”

In the next tweet, Crisostomo posted a photo of protesters holding signs that read, “Sorry 4 preaching hate,” “God loves you,” “Sorry for judging you,” and “LGBT, you are loved.”

Raffy Magno (@raffymagno) reposted Crisostomo’s photo and wrote: “I want to #ShowThePope that the Philippines can also be open and loving to LGBT.”

Gay rights advocates say that in the Philippines – a predominantly Catholic country – the LGBT community is “culturally celebrated but not politically recognized.” (READ: #GenderProud: Is the Philippines LGBT-friendly?)

In a 2013 Pew Research Center survey on global views on morality, 65% of survey respondents from the Philippines said homosexuality is morally unacceptable, while 25% said it is morally acceptable. For the remaining 9%, homosexuality is not a moral issue. 

‘Who am I to judge?’

This mix of views prevails under Francis, who has endeared himself to many – even to non-Catholics – for advocating an open view on various issues.

On gay rights, the Pope made one of his most quoted statements in 2013. Back then, there were reports of a gay lobby “potentially involved in airing the Vatican’s dirty laundry,” according to veteran Vatican analyst John Allen Jr. 

Responding to the issue, Francis said he has not yet found anyone with “an identity card in the Vatican with ‘gay’ on it.” Nevertheless, the Pope offered a way to deal with “such a person.”

“You must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. This one is not good. If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has goodwill, then who am I to judge him?” the Pope said.

It was that “simple question,” among other instances, that prompted The Advocate, a US-based magazine for the LGBT community, to name the Pope as its Person of the Year – “the single most influential person of 2013” on LGBTs.

“The brevity of that statement and the outsized attention it got immediately are evidence of the Pope’s sway,” the magazine said.

Aside from Crisostomo and Magno’s tweets, here are other things Filipinos would like to #ShowThePope:

What about you? What do you want to #ShowThePope?

Tweet us your photos using this hashtag, and we’ll include your entries in a gallery that we’ll send to the Vatican. We’ll also feature the best entries in our stories. – Rappler.com

Join Rappler in a 100-day countdown to Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines: a journey from the Vatican to Tacloban. Tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #PopeFrancisPH!

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.