The Lesbian and Gay Legislative Advocacy Network Philippines (or LAGABLAB-Pilipinas) was formally launched in 1999, but efforts to create a network of different lesbian and gay groups and individuals started much earlier. The first attempt was in 1995, after a congressman filed a bill recognizing the lesbian and gay community as a sector.
The bill was quashed, but it provided an opportunity to lesbian and gay organizations to discuss the possibility of creating a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) network that would lobby and push for lesbian and gay rights in the country. In 1998, after a political party running for the party-list elections consulted the LGBT community for its sectoral agenda, the idea gave birth to LAGABLAB.
LAGABLAB marching with pride. Behind the contingent is Asia-Pacific Rainbow’s Dede Otomo (Gaya Nusantara-Indonesia) and Vince Crisostomo. The main purpose of LAGABLAB is to advance and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Filipino LGBTs, especially in the areas of policy and legislation. It does legislative advocacy to push for laws that will promote LGBT rights and welfare.
It organizes campaigns to influence public discourse on sexuality and raise awareness on the situation of lesbians and gays. It does research and documentation, too, to gather cases of abuses and human rights violations committed against Filipino LGBTs. It is also starting to lobby for local ordinances against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.