Pride Comes To Vietnam
There will be a celebration on the streets of Hanoi this week the like of which Vietnam has never seen before. The historic city will hold its first ever gay pride event his weekend ahead of the country discusses legalizing same-sex marriage.
The revolutionary Viet Pride is scheduled to run from 3rd to 5th August and will feature special film screenings, presentations and live music. The celebrations will culminate with a cycle parade through part of the center of Hanoi on Sunday.
This is a remarkable and almost certainly courageous event because whilst homosexuality is not illegal in Vietnam it is still very much considered a taboo where gay men and women are commonly referred to as Pê đê, which means pedophile. Much of the population still consider homosexuality a mental illness and the majority of openly gay and lesbian people routinely face discrimination.
Such is the level of misinformation and lack of understanding that conversion therapies are sometimes used to try and ‘cure‘ people of being gay or lesbian, including corrective rape. The associated stigma of being gay can often lead to depression and suicide. 'The untold miseries must be told. The invisible faces must be made visible. The silenced voice must be heard. Equal rights must be given.‘ The organizers proudly proclaim on its website, clearly indication just how important and courageous Viet Pride really is.
Their message continues, “All these goals cannot be accomplished overnight but require an undivided commitment, concerted effort and collective action to make human rights and dignity for LGBT people a reality.”
“For this reason, pride has been celebrated annually since 1969 in all continents of the world to remind each and every one of us that we are born free and equal and it is not a crime or a sin to love the person we love.”
There does seem to be a wind of change in the communist country, only lLast Tuesday government Minister Ha Hung Cuong spoke out against homophobia, saying prejudice against gay people is 'unacceptable'.
Whilst last month the Ministry of Justice announced last that a special consultation into same-sex marriage was ongoing and would bring the issue to the one-party state’s National Assembly congress in the spring 2013. If they do legalese same sex marriage it will make Vietnam the first Asian country to do so.