The election of a trans woman as chair of a university student council in the Philippines gives hope to LGBT people in mainstream politics.
Heart Diño was yesterday appointed chair of the student council at the University of the Philippines after gaining 3,290 votes and is the first transgender person to hold that post in the college's history.
LGBT political party Ladlad hailed the election of Diño and hopes it will signal a change in the country's mainstream politics.
Professor Danton Remoto, the newly installed chairman of Ladlad, said the victory 'shows that the horizon of one’s dreams is infinite, whether one is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.'
'The power to lead has been transferred to the capable hands of a transgender leader,' said Remoto. 'We applaud this historic moment and congratulate her achievement.'
The party also applauds the election of Alex Castro, a bisexual woman, as the student council's vice chair.
Ladlad says it hopes this is the start of a new diversity that will emerge in mainstream politics, with the party's first nominee for the Philippines' mid-term elections next year is transgender woman Bemz Benedito.
Remoto said: 'If we are lucky, it would be another milestone for the LGBT community if she becomes the first transgender party-list representative to be elected.'
Ladlad, meaning 'coming out' in English, was founded in 2003 and is fighting for equal rights among all Filipinos, whether they are LGBT or not.
The party-list system is a form of proportional representation, where political parties present lists of candidates and seats are awarded according to their group's share of the vote.
This is usually done using an electoral formula or a quota which prevents too many small parties from winning seats.