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