The world's only political party solely dedicated to LGBT issues, Ladlad in the Philippines, launched its election campaign yesterday.
The first day of campaigning started with a blessing at 7am from Rev Ceejay Agbayani from LGBTS community church and continued with canvassing in two markets in Manila and visits to the Home for the Golden Gays elderly care home for LGBT people and beauty salons where many Filipino trans women work.
The election is not until May but Ladlad are determined to win a seat in congress this time.
Before the last congressional election in 2010 the party were denied accreditation by the state commissioner for elections who said they were 'immoral'. The decision caused outrage and was eventually overturned, but only in time to give Ladlad three weeks to campaign.
‘It was a victory for us, but because it was only three weeks before the election a lot of our members and supporters thought that we were not able to run,’ said Bemz Benedito, Ladlad's first congressional nominee, in an interview with Gay Star News last November.
Despite this Ladlad gathered 130,000 votes in the 2010 election - just 20,000 fewer than the 150,000 needed to win a seat in congress.
The Philippines' congress has a party-list system which aims to ensure that marginalized groups have representation. Ethnic groups, senior citizens and teachers are currently represented in congress through this system, but not LGBT people who are severely marginalized in the Philippines and regularly discriminated against in the work place and at school.
Ladlad's first party platform is to pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill which has been stuck in congress for 13 years.
Watch a Filipino news clip about the launch of party-list groups' election campaigns: