Vietnam - An incoming Disneyland for LGBT people

09/11/2016

“On gay rights, Vietnam is now more progressive than America”, was the headline posted by NBC News at early of this year. While that sentiment may be a little premature, LGBT rights have certainly improved in the country in recent years. Though, LGBT rights in Vietnam still have to face with conservative views on sexuality, a plethora of LGBT support groups has been springing up across the country.
Gay marriage is tolerated by the state, though same-sex couples don’t enjoy the same rights as straight people. Last year, a gay pride event in Ho Chi Minh city which attracted thousands of people was described Australian outlet ABC as feeling like a “LGBT Disneyland”. This rally aimed at encouraging as many people as possible to come out and be comfortable with who they are, festival organizers hope that this will be yet another step forward in getting the conservative society to accept their LGBT friends and family.
In Asia, LGBT groups are making progress, if slowly. There were other signs too of Vietnam’s increasingly liberal attitude to LGBT issues in 2015, particularly when the country passed a law in December which would allow individuals who have undergone reassignment surgery to register under a new gender. Another positive sign is that the country's ministry of justice has backed plans to legalize gay marriage, after the ministry of health came out for marriage equality.
“It was a nice surprise. We expected to have this in 2015,” says Le Quang Binh, director of the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE), one of the organizations vocal on LGBT issues. He feels that increased visibility of the Vietnamese LGBT community and public education has led to this change in the “communist one-party state” as called by the West.
AFP reported: "Outward discrimination of the kind sometimes found in Western countries is rare in Vietnam, possibly because homosexuality does not yet exist as a firm concept in Vietnam and also because a large degree of same-sex tactility is accepted as normal in Southeast Asian cultures. Male prostitution and public sex venues are widespread in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Zoos, parks, lakes, swimming pools and saunas have all been identified by state-run media as venues for sex between men. Some same-sex couples have been more visible about celebrating their relationships, organizing ceremonies to mark civil unions even if they were not legally recognized.
In the past five years, advocates have also stepped up efforts to change mindsets and foster more discussion of LGBT issues. “We started to work with mass media in 2008 by providing training for journalists on homosexuality, same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. We also organized public events such as an exhibition on same-sex marriage, a contemporary play on same-sex relationships, talk shows on television, research and workshops on LGBT issues, etc.” wrote Le Quang Binh.
Though, the Ministry of Justice stated that in order to ensure individual freedoms, marriage between same-sex couples needs to be recognized. However, considering the culture and traditions of the Vietnamese family and social sensitivity of the issue, the social consequences of legal regulation are not predictable. Thus, at this point, the recognition of marriage between same-sex couple is still too early in Vietnam.
But, thanks to the decision of MOJ, the media has focused on this topic and the social debate has been stimulated. This is useful for social understanding and social changes in support of LGBT rights. In addition, the LGBT community is also mobilized and contributing to this social debate.
Same sex marriage is a very new concept in Vietnam. There is still widespread social stigma against homosexuals. Therefore, it is now up to the advocates to capitalize on the announcement, which placed the issue in the spotlight, and push their cause even further.
Meanwhile, the LGBT community is mobilizing in Vietnam to raise their profile and reach out to the wider public. The eyes of LGBT communities in Southeast Asia will now be on Vietnam. If the government really passes the law to legalize gay marriage, it could be a signal to other countries in the region to buck up.
If a Confucian society like Vietnam accepts gay marriage, it will be not just a victory for Vietnam, but for LGBT movements all across Asia who have been told that same-sex relationships are immoral, even in more liberal Western societies and have no place alongside our Asian morals and values. And if Vietnam could be the first domino in Asia when it comes to more equality for the LGBT, well, that would be absolutely fabulous./.
Chia sẻ bài viết ^^
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All comments [ 8 ]


John Smith 10/11/16 15:41

Vietnam is a progressive country in LGBT rights. Same sex activity has always been legal in country, and there is an equal age of consent.

MaskOf Zero 10/11/16 15:41

Outward discrimination of the kind sometimes found in Western countries is rare in Vietnam, possibly because homosexuality does not yet exist as a firm concept in Vietnam and also because a large degree of same-sex tactility is accepted as normal in Southeast Asian cultures.

Only Solidar 10/11/16 15:43

A study also found that 80 percent of high school students in Ho Chi Minh City do not think homosexuality is bad, and that only 2 percent of students frowned on peers upon finding out their sexuality.

Jane smartnic 10/11/16 15:45

Which is why everyone was stunned when Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice announced at the end of July that the government is considering legalizing same-sex marriage.

Gentle Moon 10/11/16 15:46

Increased visibility of the Vietnamese LGBT community and public education has led to this change in the communist one-party state.

Deck Hero14 10/11/16 15:48

Same sex marriage is a very new concept in Vietnam. There is still widespread social stigma against homosexuals, but we have made a lot of progresses.

yobro yobro 10/11/16 15:49

I think Vietnam has a tolerant view on the LGBT more than many Western countries.

Pack Cassiopian 10/11/16 15:50

Yes, the LGBT community is mobilizing in Vietnam to raise their profile and reach out to the wider public.

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