Did Philippines President and alleged homophobe Rodrigo Duterte just pull an 'American Beauty'?
The Philippines strongman, who is notorious for his unfiltered public comments (late last year, he accused "most" Catholic Priests of being closet homosexuals), made an unexpected "admission" during a visit to Japan.
During a speech on Thursday, Duterte outed one of his political opponents as a homosexual, and then he outed himself...
According to local media reports cited by RT, while bashing Senator Antonio Trillanes, an ardent critic of his rule, Duterte implored his audience to "ask any gay person who sees Trillanes move, they'll say he's gay."
He went on to say that, in this respect, he and Trillanes are "similar."
Duterte said he "became a man again" after meeting his now ex-wife, and that he "cured himself" of homosexuality. He finished with a rather cryptic proclamation where he referred to himself in both the third and first person: "Duterte is gay. So I am gay, I don’t care if I’m gay or not."
It's not entirely clear what he meant by that (though if you have any theories, feel free to leave them in the comments), but it's worth noting that this isn't the first time Duterte has discussed his sexuality in this half-joking, half-serious way. In 2017, he joked that he had considered becoming bisexual so he could "have fun both ways."
Keep in mind, this is the same world leader who once shocked a crowd by recounting how he molested his family's maid when he was a teenager, telling them that he once slipped his hand in her panties while she was sleeping, them ran off when she woke up.
This contrasts with Duterte's reputation as an alleged homophobe, having once described US ambassador Philip Goldberg as a "gay ambassador" and a "son of a whore."
Though Duterte claimed to be in favor of legalizing gay marriage in the conservative Catholic country early in his presidency, he has since changed his position, saying it would clash with the country's civic and religious principles.