Former 'Glee' actress comes out as lesbian

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charice

Filipino singer Charice Pempengco.

Filipino singer Charice Pempengco, who played an exchange student in "Glee," has come out as a lesbian in the her home country.

The 21-year-old said on ABS-CBN TV that she wants to apologize to those who do not understand and cannot accept her. She mentioned her mother and brother.

"I don't know what the problem with that is because for me, that isn't a problem," Pempengco said, adding, "To all those who will accept me, thank you very, very much."

Pempengco sang in local contests and appeared on TV talent shows in the Philippines and South Korea before she got a big break in the United States on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" at age 15.

She also appeared in Oprah Winfrey's talk show and starred in "Glee" in 2011.

Pempengco said that after her public coming out, she could now "leave my house without hiding anything."

But an official with the anti-gay Roman Catholic Church, the Rev. Melvin Castro, stirred controversy by saying Pempengco was experiencing an identity crisis.

Castro, the executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life in the Philippines, asked people not to judge the singer while she is still trying to "discover her real feelings." He proposed she live a "celibate and pure" life and undergo religious counseling.

The Catholic Church in the Philippines and elsewhere rejects same-sex attraction and relationships and the church is influential in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. But the gay community is growing in the Philippines, and there are many respected and popular gay entertainers.