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It is always hard to understand another country’s context.
Like him or loathe him, Duterte’s election possibly results from his strong (!!!) line on drugs. I don’t know about the Philippines but transgenderism, of the ‘ladyboy’ type is a familiar and long established phenomenon in South and SouthEast Asia. Different from Western AGPs perhaps, more akin to an extreme campness.
The SE Asian language I speak, not Tagalog, does not seem distinguish between ladyboy and gay. But perhaps it was a conversation that I never really had. Ladyboys existed and were effectively accepted for what they were, which was not women but a sort of third sex. And indeed I was aware of a transgender FtoM who was equally accepted within her family and passed as a man to outsiders. Homosexuality was culturally not accepted. It clearly existed but was not discussed. A friend had a gay BiL who lived in the UK and used to bring his long term partner with him on visits. Neither she nor her BiL explained the details to the PiLs and they did not seem to suspect that there was anything beyond friendship, though she wondered at their apparent naivety. She,, although an educated English speaking professional, clearly tolerated rather than approved.
The UK as a Western Anglophone country has problems with the US pushing their cultural norms on us. The same is true, albeit more so, in Asia.
FWIW Taiwan has a transgender Cabinet Minister, previously a high flying computer expert.
Maybe its the same as it said about Iran another fundamentalist country. ie being homosexual is a crime, but if you transition you cease to be homosexual.
Which is of course sort of what we are moving towards here. Its not just the trans community but parents who cant cope with having a gay or lesbian child are often more than happy to help a child transition.
Stumbled in. Iran will not be ‘the same’. It appears that both same sex attraction, and transgenderism, especially of the ladyboy/third sex type, are pretty universal. However cultural attitudes differ.
The Philippines are not fundamentalist.
There was an interesting reaction from Samoa when a NZ transgender weightlifter beat their local female champion. Fa’afafine have been an integrated part of Samoan culture for centuries.The non-binary term roughly translates as someone who lives "the way of a woman”. Fa’afafine are widely accepted but not expected/allowed to take part in women’s sport. What would TRAs prefer. Societal acceptance or the ability to dominate women’s sport at the expense of biological women. Which society is more ‘transphobic’, Samoa or NZ?
(I’m with Samoa. Accept transsexuals, but allow women appropriate single sex spaces.)
Sorry if I sounded ignorant. I thought the Philipines was "fundamentalist" in the sense of have a very strong Catholic Church.
And most religions reject same sex attraction but make strange exceptions for "3rd sexes" whether lady boys, Hijra or those who transition.
ie the difference between what is said and what happens in practice.
You may know more about SE Asia than me, but my understanding is that many Asians blame the West for bringing in ‘puritan’, though in many cases, Catholic, attitudes towards homosexuality, overturning traditional attitudes and acceptances.
I do not think traditional attitudes are necessarily ‘strange’ except when seen from a Western perspective. But then I struggle with the Western concept of right-think and wrong-think. And the idea of judging other cultures from the perspective of our own.
Equally I would never describe the Philippines as fundamentalist. And not all are Catholic. Not least there is a sizeable Muslim population.
So they have a male member of Congress (presumably joining a lot of other males) and a large gay parade - was that also mostly male? But women’s rights to contraception, abortion, divorce are very poor/non-existant...
Catholicism isn't really a fundamentalist religion, although there are some fundamentalist Catholics.
But on the Economist piece - I think it is often very difficult to understand these kind of nuances unless you are quite familiar with the relevent culture. What can seem like an odd juxtaposition can make a lot more sense when you see the full picture. We have a tendency to look at a situation and make certain assumptions, for example about what it means for people to be conservative, that are not justified in another setting.
I see this quite a lot even within my own culture, people making errors like this about another political viewpoint or part of the country. When you are talking about a very different culture with a lot of different history, it becomes so significant I read something like this bit in the OP and feel like I really have no information to even begin to understand what is going on, and I tend to mistrust the implication that there is a mismatch between politics and the public as they describe.
The Philipines is over 80% Catholic. And sort of assumed not only from the past but the fact that Duterte has complained of the church's influence that is has a strong presence. www.fairobserver.com/region/asia_pacific/contraception-philippines-rodrigo-duterte-asian-world-news-35054/
And I am not saying the western eye gives the correct view on any part of the world, but just saying in all cultures there has been this strand of gay being unacceptable but someone concealing their gayness by adopting the attitudes of the (socially imposed gender) roles of the opposite sex.
How it presents itself is obviously influenced by the culture of each community.
So state imposed "conversion" (transition) of say Russia or Iran is obviously different. But the source, not accepting homosexuality, is common.
(Today in the news is the fact that the first trans woman to be appointed to the UN is from Pakistan. Not a socially liberal country with a dominant religion.)
I suspect the question of ‘why Duterte’ is a bit like ‘why Trump’ or ‘why Putin’.
Why elect a strong man, even if you don’t like some of the politics/policies?
You would have to know more about the country. For example if I were living in Mexico and someone came along and offered to really clamp down on drug dealers (read the wiki link for details of Duterte’s approach) I would understand why they might get support, even if other policies were illiberal.
Interesting that the wiki entry also suggests that Duterte was abused as a child by an American RC priest.
Asian friends blame missionaries and colonialism for current anti-transgender attitudes.Though I recognise that there are lots of distasteful elements in some Asian cultures (racism is the obvious), I think there is a real danger that those in the West who bleat most about colonialism, and the most guilty of cultural imperialism.
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