Charice Pempengco from the cast of Glee says in an interview that she is a lesbian.
On an interview with Filipino talk show host Boy Abunda on The Buzz Sunday night, Abunda asked Charice straight, “Are you a lesbian?” The host was doing a “bi-lingual” question and answer session with the young singer and actress.
According to People magazine, when he asked her the question, she responded in her native language Tagalog that, “Yes … I am.”
It was an emotional moment for the 21 year-old performer as she became quite tearful during the interview. She explained that, “I have deep gratitude for the Filipinos because they are the ones who know who I really am. … I don’t know what the problem is because for me, there is no problem with that. So now I ask for forgiveness from those who don’t understand. And those who cannot accept. I apologize: I understand you.”
She went on to say, “To those who could accept, and who could accept me, thank you very, very much. I just want to say to all of you that I feel very light — that I can leave the house knowing I am not hiding anything. … I love myself, that’s why I’m able to do this.”
The 21-year-old Filipino singer shot to fame in the United States after appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show. She has performed with Celine Dion, Andrea Bochelli and many other world class singers. Last year, she served as a judge on Philippines version of The X Factor.
Charice became a cast member on Glee during the show’s second season when she played a foreign exchange student from the Philippines.
So far the feedback and comments online and in the local media have been very supportive of the young singer. Although apparently Charice Pempengco does have some of her own family who do not support the Glee actress in her “coming out” and saying that she is a lesbian, but, they don’t stand alone. There is someone else who is not happy with her announcement.
One voice of dissent came from the Roman Catholic Church. The Rev. Melvin Castro, caused some controversy by saying that Charice was experiencing an identity crisis.
The Rev. Castro is the executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life. He asked the public not to judge the singer while she is still trying to “discover her real feelings.” The church official went on to say, “With spiritual counseling, she may still realize she is really heterosexual.”
He also told the Associated Press that, “If her situation is really same-sex attraction, then we have to help her live a life that is celibate and pure.”
The Catholic Church rejects homosexual behavior, including same-sex marriage, and the church itself is very influential in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. The gay community is gaining ground in the Philippine society which has a great many popular and respected gay entertainers.
The 21 year-old and her brother were raised by their single mother while they were growing up. She sang in local contests and appeared on TV talent shows in the Philippines and South Korea before she got a big break on The Ellen DeGeneres Show at the age of 15.
For the young Glee performer Charice Pempengco, it was obviously an emotionally hard moment when she decided to say that, yes she is a lesbian, but her bravery is to be admired. Made all the more so, by the Church already belittling her statement and by not taking her “confession” seriously.
By Michael Smith