THE Philippines has elected its first openly LGBT politician.
Geraldine Roman, 49, won the lower house seat for Bataan province, just north of the capital Manila.
Roman had spent several years in Spain, where she was the senior editor for the Spanish News Agency, and mastered several languages.
“The politics of bigotry, hatred and discrimination did not triumph,” said Roman, “What triumphed was the politics of love, acceptance and respect.”
Her victory comes despite the lack of LGBT rights in the Philippines – where gay marriage is illegal and where no politician has come out due to fears of a backlash from its overwhelming Catholic population (more than 80%).
Roman said her family always remained supportive of her, and that her father advised her to “remain confident” despite being bullied for her gender identity in school.
The seat Roman won was previously held by her mother.
The political pedigree of her parents, both popular career politicians, is said to have aided in her victory.
She has promised to be a champion of LGBT rights, but insists she will prove she is more than a single-issue candidate.
Fellow Filipino and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, who is also seeking a political career in the country, was recently forced to apologise after labelling gay people as ´worse than animals´.