Manny Pacquiao is a professional boxer who’s easy enough to never once consider if you don’t follow the sport, unless you happen to read the internet and have an interest in gay rights and where, when, and via whom there is a lack thereof. In that case, you may know Pacquiao from his commentary on gays, a group that by virtue of his professed identity he is not part of and thus is no kind of an expert on.
But as it often happens, straight people shape the narratives of LGBT people through their words, actions, and power to discriminate. And so here we are, thinking back to 2012 when Pacquiao spoke out against President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage in an Examiner.com interview (that appears to have since been deleted). Within that piece, the Leviticus prescription of the death penalty for gays was also printed, which led Pacquiao to deny referencing it (claiming he’d never read that Old Testament book) and to clarify that he was not condemning gays, just gay marriage.
Fast-forward to an interview that recently aired on TV in the Philippines, where Pacquiao is running for Senate. “It’s common sense,” he said regarding gay people in a translation that circulated. “Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female. If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals.”
You do, in fact, see animals mating with the same sex. All kinds, even bed bugs. Is it surprising that Pacquiao used bullshit to justify his bullshit world view? No it is not. But that prevented neither the outrage that greeted Pacquiao’s words nor his ensuing apology—which is, you guessed it, more bullshit.
Pacquiao says, “I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I’ve hurt. I still stand on my belief that I’m against same sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I’m not condemning LGBT. I love you all with the love of the Lord. God Bless you all and I’m praying for you.”
Interestingly, Pacquiao may have gotten around to reading Leviticus, one of the few Bible passages that actually seems to condemn those who engage in homosexual behavior. Less interesting: everything else Pacquiao (or more likely, one of his people) has shared. He’s not sorry. It’ll happen again. He’s just saying this because that’s what you do when you’re a celebrity with lucrative endorsement deals and large numbers of people are shaming you for bigotry. This apology shouldn’t satisfy anyone, nor should any apology that has been coerced by social media outrage. This is the corrupt offend-then-apologize cycle: bullshit begets bullshit, a process that Pacquiao is, in fact, an expert on.
If you believe in LGBT people’s innate humanity, you believe that their emotional framework is equal to straight people’s, thus they should be afforded the protections and ability to display their love that comes with the human construct deemed “marriage.” To believe in less is to condemn gay people, and if your religion calls for you to do so, your religion is hateful, oppressive, and wrong. If you actually care about people as a whole, and not just your own personal salvation, you should find a new religion.
All of this should be obvious to anyone with a working brain and the capacity to think outside of their own existence, but then also obvious is the fact that boxers aren’t sociologists, and most of them would probably make terrible politicians.
[Image via Getty]