At Large

Gay unions and clerical abuse


They’re called “lipstick lesbians,” women who love women, or are primarily sexually attracted to other women, but who “wear lipstick” along with other forms of makeup as well as sexy attire, and appear to all the world as seeking men’s attention.

If you prefer to categorize lesbians using the “butch-femme” divide, then they will definitely fall within the “femme” side. “Butches” generally prefer men’s outfits, assume male stances, and appear to be rejecting the “feminine” side of their persons.

But maybe Isabelle Daza and Georgina Wilson are not so much “lipstick lesbians,” or even just lesbians, as, depending on which side you’re at on the public opinion fence, well-intentioned celebrities or desperate attention-seekers.

You know what I’m talking about, right? Daza and Wilson, both “it” girls of the moment, being widely-recognized models, TV hosts, actors, and first cousins at that, posed for photographer Mark Nicdao while locking lips and later posted the picture on Instagram.

The post captured much attention not just because two women kissing are still a novelty in these parts, but also because both have never “come out” as lesbians and in fact are in very public romantic relationships—with straight men.

But there seems to be a perfectly reasonable explanation for the cousins’ provocative pose. Daza captioned the image as their “take on equality for gay rights.”

This, in the wake of news that the US Supreme Court recently nullified both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and Proposition 8, which made same-sex marriage illegal in California.

* * *

Then again, the photo may not have been a pitch for a local version of the landmark US decision as a publicity stunt and an attempt to shock the public—although girl-on-girl kissing lost much of its shock value after American entertainers made a habit of it in awards presentations.

Still, the question does loom large after the US “Supremes” voted to knock down legal barriers to same-sex unions. We all know Philippine law often relies on legal precedents set in the United States, and popular culture here references American events with amazing alacrity.

Engenderights, a legal NGO whose focus is self-explanatory, is leading the move to make the most of the US Supreme Court decision. For starters, says Engenderights executive director Clara Rita Padilla, she hopes the “LGBT community’s win … will also be celebrated here.”

“Enacting a law that provides equality in marriage and divorce is one step toward ending discrimination and hate crimes against LGBTs. It is an important step toward a humane and just society where people respect the rights of others,” she says.

The US ruling, says Padilla, is timely for the Philippines because an antidiscrimination bill seeking to protect LGBTs from discrimination—even gender-based violence and hate crimes—is still pending in Congress. At the same time, “women’s reproductive rights are being denied due to fundamentalist religious beliefs.”

And if a photo of two women kissing can get thousands of “likes,” while a story like the “coming out” of singer Charice gets generally favorable press, then perhaps we aren’t all that medieval, after all.

* * *

And speaking of medieval…

One of the more persistent of the many scandals bedeviling the institutional Catholic Church is that of the sexual misconduct of priests—either violating their vows of celibacy with affairs that sometimes produce offspring, or sexually abusing or exploiting members of their flock, including children.

Now a retired Catholic bishop in Australia lays out an analysis of this history of abuse but digs deeper beyond the human stories to unmask a wider, deeper “institutional” malaise.

The book’s title says it all: “For Christ’s Sake: End Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church…for Good.” But as a reviewer says, author Bishop Geoffrey Robinson “dares something more fundamentally revolutionary… He dares to pull on the thread that unravels the cloak that has hidden the institutional disease. We all know the symptoms, of which sex abuse is the most apparent and most alarming. Robinson unwinds the thread slowly, and for the most part ignores all the horrific particulars and incomprehensible depravities of the abuse scandal. That part of the story by now is well-documented.”

Instead, writes Robinson in his introduction: “We can no longer limit our blame to the individuals, but must also look for factors within the very culture of the Church that have contributed. And when so many authorities in the Church have attempted to conceal the abuse, or treated victims of abuse as though they were the enemy of the Church, we must again look for systemic factors behind such behavior, factors that are part of the very culture of the Church.”

* * *

Beyond his book, Bishop Robinson has launched a petition drive (on change.org) calling on Pope Francis to “convene a full council of the Church on this issue—and finally begin an open, transparent process to identify and remove the causes of this abuse.”

Almost 20 years ago, says Robinson, he helped set up “some of the Church’s first responses to this issue,” and while he “felt the disapproval of authorities when I tried speaking out,” if enough men and women of goodwill join in the call, Church authorities “will not be able to simply ignore the message any longer.”

His last appeal: “I still believe in the great beauty of the Church. It’s sustained me through the worst of this ugliness. Now I have hope that we can truly confront the horror of this abuse and ensure it never happens again.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=55529

Tags: At Large , Catholic Church , gays , Gender issues , lesbians , LGBT , opinion , Rina Jimenez-David , sexual abuse

  • Platypus09

    The Philippines is NOT America.

    Two countries have TWO different cultures. They are NOT the same.

    Same-sex marriage might be possible in the US but there ARE STILL LOTS OF GOOD STRAIGHT MALES than gay males.

    Lots of straight males in the US, unlike the Philippines where people like to IMITATE or GAYA- GAYA puto-maya..

    Philippines has different ways of raising their children according to
    Catholic teachings, unlike the US that is way TOO liberated..

    Instead of imitating, why can’t we formulate laws that would strengthen our families?

    We are a God-fearing country and that is NOT going to change.

    Too different countries with two different cultures.

    Russia assails its conservativeness by the signing of President Putin
    an anti-same sex marriage law which strengthens family unit at the same

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Bus kills pedestrian before falling into Olongapo City ravine – report
  • Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  • Group: Bataan cop killed to stop him from exposing colleagues linked to drug ring
  • Chemical Engineer licensure examination
  • Troubled history fuels Japan-China tension
  • Sports

  • NLEX fights off Derulo Accelero to remain unbeaten
  • Mayweather diehard Bieber eats pride, poses with Pacquiao for photo op
  • Power Pinays rip Singapore to enter quarters in Asian volley tilt
  • PBA D-League: Waves edge skidding Superchargers
  • Ilad’s last-second basket lifts Gems over Bakers
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Tuldok, April 22, 2014
  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Business

  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Balikatan could spoil peace talks, says militant group
  • DFA officers hold workshop on aiding human traffic victims
  • Canada in communication with PH on toxic wastes
  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Marketplace