Vietnam

Viet Pride Riding To Success

Viet Pride Riding To Success

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While the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Vietnam may have stalled for the moment, enthusiasm remains high as the nation prepares for the third annual LGBT Pride celebration – VietPride.

Under the theme ‘Together’, VietPride aims to sustain the momentum and solidarity amongst the diverse LGBT groups across the country, and also fostering the dialogues between LGBT community and strategic key partners including dedicated rights activists, supporting civil society organisations, relevant agencies and other allies in Vietnam. Built on the success of previous campaigns, the event this year offers a wide range of activities, opportunities and platforms to embrace the diversity and dynamics of the movement; promote unity and coordination within LGBT serving groups; facilitate interaction and communication within community and among participants in cosy, vibrant and colourful atmosphere. Through solidarity and understanding, Viet Pride aims to harness the energy and strengthen the voice of LGBT people.

The event will take place over five days from August 1-5, with the capstone VietPride bicycle rally on Sunday August 3,an event celebrated widely in local and international media. Supporters are enthusiastically expecting a convoy of rainbow bikes,and volunteers with huge rainbow flags along the rally route in the centre of the capital. Such visibility carries the hope to gradually change the social attitude in Vietnam where homosexuality remains a taboo.

Making steady progress from its conception three years ago, VietPride 2014 has received wide support from the LGBT people and little resistance from the public. VietPride is also pioneering in employing the model of social movement organisation, engaging various LGBT support entities. This year, the event is brought together by a diverse and cross-national alliance: Civil Rights Defenders, Goethe Institute, the Dutch Embassy and US Embassy in Hanoi, UNDP, USAID, The Closet, 6+, PFLAG, ICS, The Hanoi Social Club, Puku Cafe. VietPride 2014 is also welcoming two leading international organisations: The AmazinL.Thi Foundation and Harvey Milk Foundation.

Though being originally a Western concept,Pride has become a universal symbol of the LGBT movement across the world since 1969. In Asia, Pride has proven to be an effective tool in raising awareness and advocating diversity.

Speaking of the importance of Pride in Vietnam, the director of VietPride, NguyenThanh Tam,said,“For collectivistic and patriarchal society like Vietnam, homophobia persists, often times in very subtle forms, but deep-rooted and internalised. In such context, Pride is important because it upholds the value of tolerance, diversity, and equality.

It also reminds us that we have a fight until the day that the concept of together is no longer entitled to only heterosexual people, and every community, despite the differences, should be treated with dignity and respect.”

To celebrate LGBT Pride in Vietnam,visit www.vietpride.info and www.facebook.com/vietpride.info

Vietnam Launches Coming Out Support

Vietnam Launches Coming Out Support

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The ICS Center (Vietnam’s main LGBT support organisation) launched Vietnam’s first consulting service for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals (LBGT) during a conference, held on July 11 in Ho Chi Minh City, on communicating with one’s family.
The service will offer consultations to LGBT people about how to talk to their parents about their sexuality, commonly called “coming out”, and deal with possible reactions from their parents and other family members.
The center’s director, Tran Khac Tung, said he himself had dealt with pressure from his parents more than 15 years ago and found it very difficult for him to make his parents understand his sexuality.
“Parents traditionally expect their children to get married to a member of the opposite sex. They always stress the importance of marriage to their children as they grow up,” he said. “I was among these children and I only knew to smile and avoid answering.”
Tung said tried to avoid family gathering during which his relatives kept asking him when he would get married to a woman.
The pressure on LGBT Vietnamese is exacerbated by traditional greetings such as “how old are you?” and “are you married, yet?” Tung said.
“There is a lack of information for LGBT people on how to make their family understand their sexuality,” he said.
During the conference, Hau, a 23-year-old student in HCMC, said he has a hard time speaking about his sexuality with his family.
“It has been 23 years since I began concealing my actual sexuality,” he said, adding that it was the first time he publicly identified his sexuality with others.
“I am afraid. My father seems to know about it. He is likely to accept it easier than my mother,” Hau said of his concerns.
Huynh Minh Thao of ICS said the heaviest burden for a LGBT person is to tell their story to their parents.
“We have to tell our families we can only be happy being with the people we love,” he said.
Nhi, a mother who accepted her daughter as a lesbian, said it depends on the specific case and the LGBT person must find a suitable way to tell their parents.
“In the case of Hau, he told his father that he’d never had romantic feelings for women, but men instead. Because his father is more accepting, he was able to make his mother and others in the family understand,” she said.
Nhi and several other accepting parents of LGBT children will work with lawyers and psychologists to supply the consulting services through ICS. The service will also offer consultations on legal matters involving the LGBT community.
LGBT people can book an appointment with ICS’ consulting team by calling (08)39405140 or visiting its website www.tuvanLGBT.vn. The service is free for people under 18 years old and others experiencing financial difficulties.
An online survey compiled by the Hanoi-based Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) found that 50.2 percent of those who have come out to their parents received objections, 31.2 percent said their parents ignored them and only 18.6 percent received their parents’ support.
Fifty four respondents said their families had forced them to marry heterosexuals, but more than half of them had divorced as they were unhappy and their partners did not accept their sexual orientation, according to the survey of 2,483 respondents, of which 800 men and 461 women reported being engaged in a same-sex romantic relationship.
Most of the respondents said their relationship was challenged by the disapproval of their family, public disdain and discriminatory laws.
Viet Pride 2014 – Together

Viet Pride 2014 – Together

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In August 2012, Vietnam saw its first LGBTQ Pride celebration in Hanoi. A convoy of more than 200 people on bicycles and motorbikes, carrying rainbow flags and messages of equality, created a landmark for the LGBTQ movement in the South East Asian country, where prejudice against sexual minorities is still pervasive.

The second Viet Pride the following year was a significant step in strengthening the movement and expanding the scope to include the Viet Pride scholarship and an employment equality campaign.

This year, 2014, Viet Pride will be celebrated for the third time in Hanoi on the first weekend of August – the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

Continuing the momentum, the third Viet Pride aims to raise awareness of sexual diversity and the right to love that every person regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity is entitled to. Besides that, Viet Pride 2014 also puts a strong emphasis on forging the connection and solidarity amongst diverse LGBTQ groups from
all over the country through a series of discussions and networking activities.

These two directions of focus are much needed in the time and place where equality and dignity for people of sexual minorities are circumscribed by the language of culture, and the consensus, solidarity within the LGBTQ community is vital to lead the movement forward.

The preparation for Viet Pride 2014 is being carried out with great excitement across the country, involving civil society organisations both in the North and the South of Vietnam, as wellas foreign embassies, social enterprises, and the strategic partner of Viet Pride – the Goethe Institute.

The organising committee also hopes to bring over LGBTQ organizations from overseas for exchange of good practices and transnational camaraderie. A great source of support comes from Civil Rights Defenders to put together the event and invite LGBTQ community leaders to Hanoi for the three days of Viet Pride and a number of community consultation/needs assessment sessions.

Speaking of the development and remarkable progress of Viet Pride, Nguyen Thanh Tam, director of the project since 2012, said, “Viet Pride is making small, yet firm and consistent, steps in fostering social acceptance and respect that has been sorely lacking in the Vietnamese society. I am glad that in only three years, Viet Pride has grown to become an annual tradition and symbol of respect for diversity, with Vietnamese LGBTQ youth and allies quickly becoming the leading force. I also appreciate the fact that Viet Pride has proven to be not an isolated event or confined within Vietnam but part of the global LGBTQ movement that is changing the world in a way unimaginable just a few decades ago!”

For more information about Viet Pride 2014, please contact:
Ms. Nguyen Thuy Ngan Trang, Assistant Director at +84 926 03 86 99
Website: www.vietpride.info (under construction) | Email: [email protected]

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