Our Mission. Our Vision

OUR MISSION is to protect and promote human rights and access to justice of LGBTs. To raise awareness and sensitize Philippine society about LGBT issues and concerns. To address health issues and concerns of LGBTs. To initiate economic and social support projects for LGBTs, especially those marginalized. OUR SOCIETAL VISION is a society free from gender and sexuality-based oppression, prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping. OUR ORGANIZATIONAL VISION, Ladlad Partylist is an inclusive, sustainable, and responsive national LGBT organization that endeavors to consolidate, empower, strengthen and represent the LGBT community.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

LADLAD ELECTS NEW OFFICERS; ALL SET FOR 2013


Ladlad Partylist conducted a national convention attended by coordinators and members all over the country to set in motion its preparations for the 2013 midterm elections. 

The highlights of the convention was the election of a new Board of Trustees and Congressional nominees to represent the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos in the 16th Philippine Congress next year.

“We are gathered here today to show our love and support for our Ladlad party list,” said Senior Party Adviser,  Mr. Boy Abunda. “Today, you are home. We are all home in Ladlad, mula ngayon hanggang 2013 and beyond,” Abunda added.

In Filipino, "ladlad" means to come out and assert one's human rights as equal to all.  It means to take one's place in the sun, with dignity intact.

Ladlad’s first nominee in Congress is Ms. Bemz Benedito, a transgender woman. She was also the first nominee in 2010 elections and the chairperson of the organization until last month.
Prof. Danton Remoto, the newly installed chairperson of Ladlad, is the second nominee. Remoto was the Communications Officer of the United Nations Development Program before he joined TV 5 as Head of Research and Desk Manager. 

The 3rd nominee is Atty. Germaine Leonin. She is the founding president of Rainbow Rights Project Inc., an organization composed of lawyers. 

The fourth Congressional nominee is also a lawyer, Atty. Raymond Alikpala, author of the book God Loves Bakla. Mr. Pidot Villocino, a proud gay man, is the 5th nominee of the party. He hails from Davao City and works for the Integrated Gender and Development Division of Davao City. 

The new Board of Trustees of the organization who were elected during the February 18, 2012 convention were Prof. Danton Remoto, Mr. Dexter Macaldo, Rev. Ceejay Agabayani of Metropolitan Community Church-Quezon City, Ms. Ivanka Custodio of Lesbian Activism Project and Ms. Rica Paras and Ms. Santy Layno of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP). 

Aside from electing Prof. Remoto as its Chairman, the Board of Trustees also appointed a new set of officers. Vice Chairman is Mr. Edmond Osorio; Secretary is Ms. Ivy Krystel Hapitan, and the  Treasurer Mr. Raffy Aquino.

Monday, March 12, 2012

ARE PINOYS READY FOR A TRANSGENDER PRESIDENT?

Posted at 03/11/2012 12:02 AM | Updated as of 03/11/2012 12:08 AM
Heart Diño’s election as the first transgender chair of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Student Council last March 1, 2012 excites many political observers who view it as a portent of greater participation among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos in the political arena. They have every reason to be excited. Today, indicators suggest that the Philippines will be electing more LGBTs into public offices, including Congress, in the 2013 elections. But are we ready for a transgender president?

No openly LGBT Filipino has ever been elected to a national office. Neither has an openly LGBT Filipino ever been appointed to a cabinet position, although a popular talk show host was reportedly considered for, but subsequently declined, a cabinet position in the present administration. It is possible, of course, that some closeted LGBTs may have slipped through this artificially created political ceiling. After all, the first two openly gay members of the United States House of Representatives, Barney Frank and Gerry Studds of Massachusetts, were both closeted when first elected to office. 

While no openly LGBT individual has ever been elected to a national office, many have been elected to sub-national government positions. Openly LGBT politicians have been elected to local government positions in many parts of the country. In the province of Northern Samar, for instance, two out of 24 municipalities are headed by openly gay mayors. Not surprisingly, a big number of openly gay persons ran and won in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in those towns after the gay mayors got elected. 

In a Nueva Vizcaya town, an openly transgender woman was elected municipal councilor for three terms in the early 1990s. The mayor of a town in Albay is a known lesbian even as the mayor of a town in Quezon is an openly gay man. In Metro Manila and nearby provinces, many gay entertainers who entered politics have been elected to different local government positions. In Cebu City, as in many parts of the country, many barangay officials are openly LGBT. Most of these elected officials have indicated their interest in getting reelected or in aspiring for higher office. Equally important, many young LGBTs have expressed the desire to run for public office.

Consciously or unconsciously, members of the Filipino LGBT community have adopted a two-pronged approach to their participation in national politics. One approach is to form the community’s own political organization for the purpose of supporting LGBT-friendly candidates and/or having its members run for public office themselves. The other approach is to “infiltrate” traditional or even progressive political parties and to try to influence the crafting of the party’s platform and work for its translation into public policy. 

The establishment of Ladlad, the only LGBT political party in the Philippines, obviously falls under the first approach. Formed in 2002, Ladlad sought accreditation for the 2007 party-list polls but was able to participate only in the 2010 elections. While Ladlad failed to get a seat in Congress, its struggle to participate in the 2010 elections brought forth the historic Supreme Court ruling in Ang Ladlad v. COMELEC (2010), which recognized the right of LGBTs to organize themselves and participate in the party-list elections just like any other marginalized sector. 

Ladlad’s heroic battle to participate in the elections, which was initially rebuffed by the Commission on Elections on religious and moral grounds, energized the LGBT community and its supporters and strengthened the party’s resolve to do better in the 2013 elections. Aware that it may lose its accreditation if it does not win a seat in the 2013 elections, Ladlad is undertaking a vigorous recruitment campaign aimed at increasing its membership base. This early, it has already prepared an impressive lineup of pre-campaign and campaign period communications plan. Ladlad’s first nominee for the 2013 party-list election will be Bemz Benedito, a transgender woman.

LGBTs’ participation in Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party falls under the second approach. Akbayan is the first political party in the Philippines to recognize the existence of and the need to correct discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Since 1998, Akbayan representatives have sponsored proposed legislation in Congress aimed at prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) in schools, workplaces, public utilities and establishments, issuance of licenses and permits, and the public service, including the military. 

Akbayan party chair, Percival Cendaña, claims that the party’s legislative agenda for the LGBT community does not stop with the anti-discrimination bill. Akbayan’s version of the Reproductive Health Bill as well as its proposed amendments to the AIDS law both have a very strong bias for SOGI. Many Akbayan members I know are urging Cendaña to run as one of the party’s nominees in the 2013 elections. Cendaña, who was elected in 1997 as the first openly gay chair of the UP Diliman Student Council, is also the first openly gay chair of a Philippine political party.

Given its current membership figures, and assuming its members and supporters work as hard as they did in 2010, Ladlad may be able to get at least one seat in Congress in the elections next year. Assuming Cendaña agrees to run and becomes one of Akbayan’s first three nominees, it is also possible that Akbayan could send an openly gay man to Congress in the 2013 elections. Thus, in addition to having more openly LGBT elective local government officials, Filipinos can look forward to the distinct possibility of having openly LGBT members of Congress next year. 

As for the presidency, it may take a few more election cycles. But as Heart Diño’s victory has shown, electing a transgender president is certainly within the realm of possibility.
 
 
Venir Turla Cuyco is the founding chair of UP Babaylan, the first LGBT students’ organization in the Philippines. He is an attorney who teaches human rights and conducts research on LGBT issues. This article is based on his forthcoming publication on the participation of Filipino LGBTs in electoral politics.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

LADLAD CRIES FOUL ON BANNING OF GAY PERFORMERS IN PUERTO GALERA


THE partylist for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos, Ladlad cried foul on the alleged banning of gay performers in Puerto Galera. The party has called for a dialogue with the local officials in the island if the news reports were true.

“I will personally visit Puerto Galera and have a dialogue with the local officials about this matter,” said Ms. Bemz Benedito, first Congressional nominee of the group.

Last Sunday, Ladlad members reacted to news reports saying that bar owners were complaining to the local government officials of Puerto Galera for disallowing gay talents to perform in a show due to lewdness. The owners reportedly were alarmed because their coffers will surely get affected because their patrons are always looking for the gay performers.

“This is a clear violation of their right to work,” Benedito said. “Ladlad will oppose the approval of this measure,” she added.

On the same report, the chairman of one of the towns of Puerto Galera already refuted the claims of the bar owners, saying that they were only reprimanding the gay performers to tone down the language they are using on stage.

Ladlad further said, the remedy is an ordinance to prohibit children and an age cap on who to allow in entering such comedy bars. Prejudice must not set in this case especially to gay performers.

“In a comedy bar, children should not be allowed because of the sensitivity of the language being used in this kind of entertainment. Besides you cannot control the performers on what to say and do on stage,” Benedito stressed. “In television, you have an agency that reviews and classifies programs that suits the right age of its viewers,” Benedito added.

Friday, March 2, 2012

LGBT PARTY HAILS THE VICTORY OF MS. HEART DIÑO AND ALEX CASTRO




LADLAD Partylist hailed the election of Ms. Heart Diño as the first transgender Chairperson of the University Student Council (USC) in the University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman.

Professor Danton Remoto, the newly installed Chairperson of Ladlad said the victory of Ms. Diño shows that the horizon of one’s dreams is infinite, whether one is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

“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,” he added.

The Party also lauds the election of Alex Castro, a bisexual woman, as the Vice Chairperson of the UP Diliman USC.

Ladlad hopes that this is the start of a new diversity that will emerge in mainstream politics. Remoto disclosed that the first nominee of Ladlad is a transgender woman.

“Our first nominee is Ms. Bemz Benedito. If we are lucky, it would be another milestone for the LGBT community if she becomes the first transgender Partylist Representative to be elected” Remoto said.

The political party for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Filipinos will run as partylist in the 2013 midterm elections.