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The Philippines’ president says he’s ex-gay: ‘I became a man again’

Rodrigo Duterte speaking at an event in 2009.
Rodrigo Duterte speaking at an event in 2009.Photo: Keith Kristoffer Bacongco/via Wikipedia

Rodrigo Duterte, the conservative president of the Philippines, said that he used to be gay but that he has since been “cured.”

During a speech yesterday, Duterte “confessed” that he was gay before he met his ex-wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, local publication Rappler reports.

He then attacked Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, one of his main critics, accusing the senator of being gay. Duterte said that Trillanes’s “movements” showed that he was gay.

“You ask any gay person who sees Trillanes move, they’ll say he’s gay,” Duterte said. “Good thing Trillanes and I are similar. But I cured myself.”

“When I began a relationship with Zimmerman, I said, this is it. I became a man again.”

“Duterte is gay. So I am gay, I don’t care if I’m gay or not,” he concluded.

Related: Philippines president changes stance & comes out in support of marriage equality

This isn’t the first time Duterte has claimed to be ex-gay. In April, responding to criticism of how he frequently uses anti-gay epithets as insults for political rivals, Duterte said that gay people can’t get mad at him because he used to be gay.

“To the gays: don’t get angry with me,” he said, after calling Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, Senator Trillanes, and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno gay. “I was once gay. It’s true.”

In March, he joked that taking selfies with men would turn him gay.

“Those taking selfies, males with mustaches, when they take the ‘selfie,’ they press their face against mine,” he said. “I might turn gay if they press their face too close to mine. Some of them did not even shave.”

Duterte hasn’t limited his insults to his domestic rivals, either. In 2016, he called Philip Goldberg, the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, “gay” and a “son of a whore.”

It is unclear whether his statements are just bizarre, childish insults or a sign of an obsession with homosexuality related to his own suppressed sexual orientation.

Duterte was married for two years to Elizabeth Zimmerman before they had the marriage annulled. They both claim the marriage ended because Duterte was having extramarital sex.

He is currently living with his common law wife, Honeylet Avanceña.

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