MANILA, Philippines – There is a continuing debate over the cause of homosexuality – if it is a natural occurrence or an individual choice.
Some discover that they are gay as young as age five, while others only realize it when they are married and have children.
Most people believe that homosexuals will remain homosexuals, saying that it is something that cannot be changed by therapy and medication.
A former gay comedian claims, however, that he has become a straight man with the help of his religious faith.
Anthony Roquel was known in the 1980s as Tonette Macho on the sitcom “Iskul Bukol.” A homosexual since he was six years old, Roquel said he decided to "switch" genders at age 32.
He is now known to his friends as “Brother Tony” as he gives religious advice to his fellow Born Again Christians.
“Ang kabaklaan ko dati on a scale of one to ten is 11. Ngayon, one na lang,” Roquel told radio dzMM on Tuesday.
“Homosexuality is a change. It’s a choice. If you want to get out of it, you really have to make a choice,” he said. “Hirap na hirap ako. Hindi ito overnight na pagbabago. Faith ko ang kinapitan ko.”
Roquel believes that being gay has many causes – in his case, it was an absentee father.
This, he said, was “amplified” when he entered show business and played the role of a gay student in “Iskul Bukol.”
But when he hit “rock bottom of my homosexual lifestyle,” Roquel said this is "not the life I want.”
“I know deep inside me na hindi ito ang buhay na gusto ko. Lumapit ako sa pinsan ko na doktor, sabi ko, ‘Kulang daw ako sa male chromosome?’ Sabi ng pinsan ko, ‘Explore the world, tignan mo baka mag-enjoy ka sa buhay mo na ‘yan. Kaysa may gawin ako sa ‘yo na not scientifically proven,” he shared.
Now, Roquel spends the rest of his life as a conservative, believing that God only created men and women, and not homosexuals.
‘God created homosexuals, too’
But Heart Diño, the first transgender student head of the University of the Philippines, begs to differ.
Diño stressed that God created homosexuals, too, just like men and women.
“Whatever your personal cause, sana magrespetuhan na lang tayo. Ako kasi po, practicing Catholic talaga ako. Naniniwala po ako na ginawa ako ng Diyos na ganito,” the student, who prefers to be called a “she,” told radio dzMM.
“Sobrang powerful niya (God), kaya niyang mag-create ng gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. Ang Diyos ko po ay mapagmahal at ‘di siya marunong manghusga,” she added.
Diño admits that she recognizes how being surrounded by women and not having a father figure have helped her discover that she is a homosexual.
But she maintained that even without these factors, she will also end up where she is today.
“For me, ipinanganak talaga ako nang ganito. ‘Yung mga dahilan parang easy way na lang, para maintindihan na lang agad [ng iba],” Diño said.
Despite the bullying and discrimination that she faces, the transgender student said she is happy with her gender and has no plans of changing it anytime soon.