Not even torrential down pours could stop a recent LGBT rally in Vietnam. Hundreds gathered on August 2nd on bikes and motorcycles to support LGBT rights.
US Ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Osius, who is the first gay American Ambassador appointed to Asia, stated that “there is… a great openness to people who may not fit exactly that traditional mold and there is a great sense of fairness in Vietnam.” Osius, who was in attendance of the rally, took up the position toward the end of 2014.
Viet Pride was sponsored this year not only by the US embassy, but by the Canadian and Dutch as well. What is different about Vietnam Pride in comparison to other pride festivals and parades around the world is the lack of corporate sponsorship. This year was the first time the event had a corporate “supporter” in PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The LGBT community of Vietnam has seen changes in their lives over the last three years as issues have gained traction and the ban on same-sex marriage was lifted at the start of this year.
While turnout this year was smaller than years previous, this has primarily been attributed to the rain the region is experiencing.
Viet Pride organizer Nguyen Thanh Tam stated that “For a long time LGBT was a very invisible community, but now I think we’re having more and more space in Vietnamese society.”
The change over the last several years in Vietnam regarding LGBT rights has been wonderful. Societal acceptance as well as governmental change has made a huge difference to the overall community. While traditional values and a focus on family often has a negative effect toward the LGBT community, Vietnam shows that there is hope for other countries LGBT communities who struggle with similar societal pressures in their countries.
Sources: Channel News Asia
Mehek Naresh is an Indian American lesbian, living and working in Florida after recently graduating with a Bachelors in Political Science. Her hobbies seeking out small talk with cashiers, reading, and spending more time staring at tumblr than she’d care to admit.