A Response To Manny Pacquiao’s Hurtful Comments Toward The LGBT Community


World renowned boxing champion from the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao, often gets himself in trouble, and we’re not talking about his fights in the ring. Aside from the millions of dollars he gets paid to put on the gloves, some may not be aware he is a Congressman for the Southern state of Sarangani, and has held the post since 2010. Interestingly, his wife is the region’s vice Governor.

It is fairly common knowledge that he is a conservative, given that the Philippines is a mostly Catholic country. But Manny converted to Evangelical Protestantism, and some of the views he has espoused publicly have shocked some. He has made no secret that he is against a woman’s right to choose her own reproductive decisions, but his comments are starting to remind us of some of the extreme views expressed by members of the Republican party in the US, who are firmly against abortion and in some cases, easy access to contraception.

Although he has been criticized for his absence throughout the legislative season, given that he has opposed bills that would seek to make birth control and contraception more widely available, for example, it shows an inconsistent person (he has switched political parties numerous times) who is ruled more by ideological views than a motivation to do what is best for all his constituents.

So why do we care about this? Because Manny was recently trending in the news and on social media for comments he made concerning the LGBT community. In a controversial statement, he compared gay people to animals, and used Bible passages to back up his views. As a result, he was dropped by sponsor Nike, which prompted him not to apologize, as any sane person would do, but double down on his ignorant and hurtful comments.


Another prominent athlete spoke to the media about his comments. Ronda Rousey, UFC champ and arguably one of the biggest names in sport in the US, gave the best response, telling TMZ: “I understand that a lot of people use religion as a reason to be against gay people. But there was no ‘thou shall not be gay’.”

But what do Filipino people think of Manny’s words and views? How do the women of his own country react when they hear him, in a position of political and cultural power, claim that he doesn’t believe they should have the right to plan their own family? What about the LGBT community and its allies?

Cassandra Bohe, who is of Filipino descent and lives in the US wanted to share her thoughts with our community. Cassandra works in the TV industry and is a registered and active volunteer for the Los Angeles LGBT center located in Hollywood. She said she could not keep silent after seeing many of her family members talk about the issue, wanting to “boycott Nike”. Here is her response to Manny Pacquiao’s hurtful comments:

Manny Pacquiao was recently trending on Facebook for comparing members of the LGBT community to animals and shortly after Rhonda Rousey was trending for her reaction to those comments. Since Tagalog’s my first language, I sought out the original footage to see if maybe something was lost in translation. 

I found a link... I watched the link… And my first reaction was a sense of shock. 

Unfortunately, the translation was, for all intents and purposes, accurate. I would have translated a few things slightly different but they got the over all message of what he was intending to say. 


In addition to his recent interview, Pacquiao is known for his opposition to basic women’s reproductive rights such as access to birth control. Not only important to individual women’s health, but a crucial, and important component to combating starvation and poverty in developing countries. 

The Philippines spent hundreds of years fighting external oppression, only to start tearing each other down over basic human rights. To witness someone belonging to a history with such pride in its ability to maintain resistance, push someone else down based on something as inherent as skin color is incomprehensible. 

Pacquiao gave the Philippines someone to be proud of. I am not disputing his ability as an athlete, or his gift to the Philippines as a nationally unifying  sporting hero. But am severely disappointed that someone who desires a seat in public office has this outlook towards women and the LGBT community.  

I am a female who has undoubtedly benefited from easy access to reproductive rights such as annual screenings, birth control, and vaccinations. While I am not a part of the LGBT community, my mother is Filipino and my dad is American of German ancestry- White. Less than 50 years ago, their marriage was illegal in more than half of the United States. People went to prison and even died for interracial marriages.  A lot of other people fought that battle for me. They stood strong against those who would quote bible verses seeking to “prove” interracial marriage is a sin; That mixing races is a sin. 

Despite my roots in the Philippines, I am not a Filipino citizen, and do not have voting rights in that country. I can only hope the people who are being effected by Pacquiao’s comments find a way to make their own voices heard. 


We are living in a time where using our right to vote has never been more important, both here and abroad. The beauty of being an American is that all people are protected by constitutional rights to practice or not practice any religion they want to. But when those religious beliefs start to infiltrate our political systems, schools and communities in a way that becomes oppressive and infringes on another person’s right to equal freedom, we have a problem.

The more we raise our voices and express concern and disgust toward personal ideological views that seek to become laws, the better chance we have of mutually respecting and understanding each other. We can only hope celebrities and well-known public figures like Manny Pacquiao will use their voice to spread love and light, not division and hatred.



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