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Philippines Gay Party Recognized on Ballot

Philippines Gay Party Recognized on Ballot


The Philippines' gay political party was admitted on the electoral ballot for the first time in the country's history on Monday.

The election would determine whether Ang Ladlad -- or, in English, Out of the Closet -- would gain the three seats allowable for unrepresented minority groups in the Congress, according to CNN.

The country's Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights when deciding whether to allow the party to run officially in elections.

"We consider it a milestone in Philippine human rights," said commission chair Leila De Lima. "They are really always victims of discrimination, exclusion and even violence."

One of the party members running for office is Bemz Benedito, a transgender woman who also works for Sen. Loren Legarda, a vice-presidential candidate and Ang Ladlad supporter.

The party's five-point agenda includes instituting a ban on anti-LGBT discrimination, supporting LGBT businesses, setting up micro-loan systems to support poor and disabled LGBT Filipinos, providing legal aid and counseling services for poor and aging gay people, and repealing the antivagrancy law, which the organization says has been used to exploit and extort gay people.

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