Updated: July 01, 2019 10:14 AM GMT
A group of anti-gay Christians carry placards condemning homosexuality on the side of the annual Pride March celebration in Marikina City in the Philippine capital on June 29. (Photo by Jhun Dantes)
Thousands of people braved heavy downpours for this year's Gay Pride March in Manila on June 29 to press for equality, which drew criticism from Christian groups.Even though the predominantly Catholic Philippines is noted for its acceptance of gay and transgender people, same-sex marriage is still outlawed and a gay rights bill has made very little progress in the legislature.
President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly used gay slurs against critics, and told a crowd in a speech last month that in his younger days he "cured" himself of homosexuality by going out with women.Catholic groups."We believe homosexuality is a sin and is a perversion of God’s created purpose," said Derek, a member of a local Christian group.Days before the march, the Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL), an influential Catholic lay movement, issued a statement criticizing Ateneo de Manila, a Jesuit university, for holding its own Pride March three months ago on March 15.The university said its "One Big Pride" event was aimed at promoting awareness on gender equality and inclusivity among its students.The CFC-FFL, however, said in its statement that the "continually evolving LGBTQIA+ genders ... have no basis in nature and reality," adding that "there are only two sexes as created by God, which are, male and female."The initial LGBTQIA+ means lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual.In its statement, the CFC-FFL claimed that, "gays in the Philippines are well accepted and not just tolerated. They certainly are not discriminated against nor persecuted."