Monday February 7, 05:27 AM
Gay rebels marry in Philippines
MANILA (Reuters) - Two communist rebels in the Philippines truly became brothers in arms when the men were married in a jungle camp, a newspaper has reported.
Draped in a red flag with hammer and sickle in gold sequins, they exchanged vows, walked under an archway of assault rifles and were serenaded with revolutionary love songs by a choir of New People's Army comrades.
Ka Andres and Ka Jose, who both use the word for "brother" before their names, each held a bullet during the ceremony on the southern island of Mindanao to show their "commitment to the armed struggle", the Philippine Daily Inquirer said."What we have to do now -- with the help of the party -- is to work on our marriage and to be strong while serving the people," said Jose, who at 21 is 33 years younger than
Homosexuality is a largely taboo topic in the Philippines, with stereotypes of flamboyantly effeminate men reinforced in the media. The communist movement -- waging a violent insurgency in poor, rural areas since the late 1960s -- has been more progressive, adding same-sex relationships and marriage to its guiding policy in 1998.
Still, Jose and Andres said they ran into the "patriarchal" culture of the Philippines when they decided to marry."We conducted painstaking discussions to make comrades understand gay relations and gay rights," Andres said.