“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Pope Francis said in a sit-down interview for the film “Francesco.”
ROME (AP) — Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time as pope while being interviewed for the feature-length documentary “Francesco,” which had its premiere at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday.
The papal thumbs up came midway through the film that delves into issues Francis cares about most, including the environment, poverty, migration, racial and income inequality, and the people most affected by discrimination.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film. “What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”
While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favor of civil unions as pope.
One of the main characters in the documentary is Juan Carlos Cruz, the Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse whom Francis initially discredited during a 2018 visit to Chile.
Cruz, who is gay, said that during his first meetings with the pope in May 2018, Francis assured him that God made Cruz gay. Cruz tells his own story in snippets throughout the film, chronicling both Francis’ evolution on understanding sexual abuse as well as to document the pope’s views on gay people.
This news hit me this morning and it made my day. WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD he said, without any reservations added.
Also Francis assured Cruz that God made him gay! Isn't this a recognition that homosexuality is GENETIC, not an act of will ??
The Pope is the religious leader of 1.2 billion Catholics. There are nearly 6% of Singaporeans who are Catholic, or about 300,000 people. Will the government of SG be able to hang onto 377A when Catholics support same-sex unions?
Progress seems to be moving fast. Still what needs to come is the religious decriminalization of homosexual sex. But Catholicism is already against sex outside a valid marriage or is not for procreation.
I feel so proud of Pope Francis, who was born and officiated in the same city I was born and raised, Buenos Aires. We Argentinians have a reputation of being arrogant, but we are also good people.
By Guest Reality
It seems to me quite many guys seem to look good when I see their masked look. Nowadays everyone tends to gaze at each others’ eyes which are the only facial features visible.
However, when I saw the actual looks of some when they removed their masks for meals, the “illusion” disappears.
Anyone feels the same too?
Two Gay Men Tell Us How Gay Cruising Has Evolved Between Generations
4 May 2019
Straight people are awfully vanilla.
They dress the same, eat the same, and even date the same. They install Tinder on their phones, go on a few dates, then settle down with their third match and have boring vanilla (missionary) in their Punggol BTO until the day they die.
Odds are, their favourite flavour of ice cream is also actually vanilla.
The term “Vanilla” is often used in jest by gay people on straight people. All you need to do is to download the Grindr app like I did to understand why they’re more “Neapolitan”.
Within five minutes, I received no fewer than three sexual propositions from men in my vicinity. As Captain Vanilla exclusively wears boat shoes on dates, I was almost jealous. Cruising as a gay man was almost too easy, especially with Grindr.
Then, a thought popped into my head. What did gay men in Singapore use to do before Grindr was conceived? Aside from online forums and chat rooms, such as Fridae and Trevvy, how did they identify and hit on other gay men?
With society not being as open-minded as it is today, along with negative stereotypes of gay men due to the AIDS scares in the 80s, being covert would have been key.
What happened to good ol’ romance? According to Glenn, who is now in his early forties, he had to make the effort to go to malls and hang out within a specific area to cruise. This is something taught to him by older members of the community.
“They would take me to old cruising grounds like Plaza Singapura or Raffles City, and point out men who were cruising there, telling me what to look out for,” he says, referring to non-verbal cues that were used by these men.
Some methods to indicate interest included “the loitering, the furtive glances, circling around each other, the momentary meeting of gazes that lingered longer than casual scanning, the almost imperceptible head nod, the slight smile, the tilt of the head that indicated the direction of the toilet”.
Back then, people would wear an earring on their right ear, or have a coloured handkerchief hang off the back of their jean pocket as a way to indicate to other gay men that they were gay too. The handkerchief code went a step further than the earring: different colours indicated a different preferred sexual activity, and placement on the left or right back pocket indicated if you were a “Top” or a “Bottom” respectively.
Aside from the logistical purpose these codes served, they were also necessary due to societal and even familial disapproval of homosexuality.
“Back then, there were many more instances of getting harassed, so it wasn’t safe to come out in a public way. I would also hear horror stories of men being thrown out of home after coming out to their families.”
Maintaining eye contact was the most useful non-verbal tool for cruising. Glenn was afraid of being judged or rejected, so he would carefully ‘audition’ people around him whom he wanted to be honest with.
He would head to these “hunting grounds” at Plaza Sing and Raffles City despite his tender age. For him, it wasn’t so much about finding someone to cruise with, but rather, to be in one of the few places where he could feel safe with other people like him.
“I wouldn’t even be looking for love or sex. It was more like I wanted to find others like myself so that I could discover myself in a communal way.”
One of the more obvious shortcomings of the non-verbal cues is that they can be very easily misconstrued, unlike text messages sent on Grindr, which leave nothing up in the air.
Glenn shares, “When you say top or bottom, it’s easy to interpret because it’s fairly universal lingo that can be resolved with a google search. However, a look, a nod, or a tilt could be subject to second-guessing and fear which often complicates that interpretation.”
Red: The colour of passion. And if you’re gay, anal fisting. Unlike men who relied on non-verbal cues, 26-year-old Chris has never had to use any of them, because Grindr was already huge when he came out of the closet. For him, the extent of his knowledge about the non-verbal cues used in cruising extended to stories he would hear during coming out workshops he attended.
“I heard that Ann Siang Hill used to be the hot spot for gay cruising,” he laughs.
“There are also the risks involved with this dangerous method of meeting people, and I’ve heard stories of people getting drugged or raped. Most victims don’t report it to the police because being gay was far more stigmatised then.”
Chris raises the point that potential prosecution could’ve been a deterrence for victims to report the crimes—a direct reference to Section 377A of the penal code here in Singapore.
Luckily for Chris, he has lived in a more tolerant society for much of his life, and is comfortably out amongst all his friends and most of his family. Yet, this wasn’t necessarily always the case.
One of Grindr’s functions is the Discreet App Icon (DAI) option that users can utilise. When checked, DAI transforms the standard Grindr icon into something a little more innocuous, and the app would sit on the app gallery on their phones, disguised as calendar or notes app.
“When I wasn’t out to my friends yet, I hid the app on the last page of my phone, in some folder called Dictionary. Thankfully, my parents weren’t too tech-savvy so even if they saw the Grindr icon they wouldn’t even know what it was,” he laughs.
“As I grew older it got easier, and I was more comfortable with myself. I’m now at a point where if someone asks me nicely, and I’m comfortable with him or her, then I’d be willing to share.”
This confidence in his self-identity was nurtured by his experience in Grindr, where he felt accepted. The sheer amount of people on the app also helped him realise his sexuality was nothing to be ashamed of.
“It was comforting to know that I wasn’t alone. It was some sort of a safe haven for me, especially so when I was younger. It’s also a good tool for networking as well because it’s hard to know who around you is gay, so the app really helps.”
“Plus, it felt nice to be ‘wanted’ and receive same-sex attention as well,” he chuckles.
Ann Siang Hill: a popular cruising spot due to proximity to gay clubs and saunas. While Grindr has generally made it much easier for gay men to cruise, its greatest contribution to them isn’t helping them hook up. Rather, they’ve made it significantly easier for gay men to live comfortably in their own skin.
Even then, society still has big strides to make in order to be truly tolerant and accepting. In an Ipsos survey done in September of last year, results showed that 55% of Singaporeans were still for Section 377A of the penal code.
Moreover, “the government is in the middle”, as Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam stated last year. But when the authorities hesitate from taking a stand on the issue of criminalising homosexual activity, this inadvertently reinforces discrimination against the community.
It is institutional problems like this which hold back humanity, and take away the courage of a Grindr user in posting a display picture with his face. It is also the same reason why men who were drugged or raped while cruising would much rather stay silent than face the wrath of society’s judgement, or worse, prosecution.
Hopefully, one day we will all be able to live in a discrimination-free world, where none of us has to hide behind discreet hand signs or gestures, or faceless display pictures on apps like Grindr.