The world’s only LGBT political party, Philippines Ladlad Party began their campaign on Wednesday and are trying to win seats in the country’s Parliament, or House of Congress.
In 2010, the Ladlad party struggled to win representation, being initially denied approval by the Department of Elections. Then, they went on to overturn the ban with the Supreme Court granting Ladlad recognition, citing a freedom of expression infringement.
The Ladlad party succeeded in gaining official recognition, only a sparse three weeks before the election. The party succeeded in earning 113,197 votes and was just within reach of winning a seat falling 0.37 percent short of the necessary 150,000 votes.
The election isn’t until May, but the party is hopeful it will win representation this poll with not just one representative but three.
Party leader Danton Remoto told 429Magazine that their platform is not looking for special treatment.
“We are not trying to achieve special rights; all we are trying to do is make people aware that we should be treated like everybody else,” he said.
“Last election was a great achievement for us with the Supreme Court overturning the Board of Elections. We only had three weeks before the election and many people in opposition to our party did not think we would get the turn out that we did, but we got it, and we fought for it and we had a major victory and I am very hopeful because we have been fighting ever since,” he added.
The Philippine’s Congress is attempting to integrate underrepresented groups. Thus far, ethnic groups, tribes, teachers and senior citizens have been give representation, but not LGBT groups. If Ladlad is elected this year, Remoto said, “our first priority is to pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill which has been stuck in congress for 13 years.
“We then want to set up traditional centers for HIV education and prevention. We (The Ladlad Party) are trying to move forward the idea that gay people are just like everybody else. We want to do away with negative portrayals. All we are talking about is equal rights. Human rights,” he added.
The next general election in the Philippines takes place in May this year.