• Geraldine Roman shaking hands with voters during a campaign trip to the town of Orani, Bataan province, north of Manila. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Controversial mayor Rodrigo Duterte wasn't the only one to win big this cycle. Transgender woman Geraldine Roman won more than twice as many votes as her nearest rival.
Ben Winsor

11 May 2016 - 3:44 PM  UPDATED 11 May 2016 - 3:44 PM

With the headline-grabbing win of controversial mayor Rodrigo Duterte this week, you'd be forgiven for missing this massive news coming from the northern province of Bataan in the Philippines. 

Geraldine Roman has been elected to the national congress, becoming the country's first transgender politician at a national level. As of Wednesday she had a total 104,603 votes, 40,000 more than her nearest rival.

Roman is part of an influential family - her seat was previously held by her mother - and has been living as a woman for 20 years, according to Reuters

"The ideal situation is where gender is not an issue and we can focus on the platform, the agenda and the personality and the character of each candidate," Roman said during a march in her home town, "That's what is important, not the gender really."

The Philippines is one of the most LGBTQI friendly countries in Asia, with 73 per cent of the country agreeing with the sentiment that society should accept homosexuality, according to Pew Research.

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