particulars and different from all others in the same particulars (Constitutional Law by Justice Isagani Cruz, supra). There has to be what is called substantial distinction, as contrary to superficial difference. This is the reason why we could distinctively classify men from women (difference in reproductive roles), minors from adults (difference in age of consent), citizens from aliens (difference in nationality) etc. This distinction can be described with relative permanency in the characteristics of the distinction being made.
However when a person uses colors for vehicles or emotions and/or lifestyles for persons, they convey superficial differences in as much as these differences can change relatively in time – there exists no permanency in the distinctions being established. That is why it is important to understand that sexual orientation is such a superficial difference since the attraction of a person to the same sex varies in degrees, and there are recorded cases of persons with diminished same-sex attractions, if not totally re-oriented into heterosexuals. In fact, there are a number of "ex-gay ministries" available for persons struggling with same-sex attractions, such as our group Courage, and Bagong Pag-Asa, who assist the individual in understanding the struggle and living a chaste life. So to classify individuals according to their sexual orientation (homosexuals and heterosexuals) is unreasonable.
It is also equally important to understand that gender identity is also a superficial difference. As defined, it refers to a personal sense of identity (making it a subjective concept) based on manners of clothing, inclinations and behavior in relation to masculine or feminine conventions. Notwithstanding the argument that sexual orientation can be changed, the indicators of gender identity – manners of clothing, inclinations and behavior – are also undeniably factors in social science that can change relatively in time. The subjectivity of the definition ("personal") makes it so general that it is difficult for it to be considered as a substantial distinction.
The Church has been accused of condemning homosexuals to hell. But the Catholic Church has always seen the homosexual condition as a sharing of a person with the sufferings of Jesus, as the Catechism states – "this inclination… constitutes for most of them a trial… These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition." "Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection." Persons with same-sex attractions are called to holiness!
For it is not the person that experience same-sex attraction that the Church condemns but the sexual activity between persons of the same-sex. It is the action, not the person; it is the sin, not the sinner. And people inside and outside the Church should be able to understand how to distinguish them. The practice of loving the sinner and hating the sin should always be emphasized to the clergy and even to the lay persons.