Feb 172013

This couple, like so many, are reluctant to be seen and recognized.

VIETNAM. This country, like many others, has evolved in its attitude and understanding of homosexuality.  In 2002, the government declared homosexuality to be a “social evil” comparable to prostitution, gambling, and illegal drug use.  The government vowed that forthcoming legislation would combat homosexuality and arrest gay couples.

In 2007, HCMC University of Pedagogy conducted a poll of 300 students at three junior high and high schools.  It discovered that 80% of pupils answered “NO” when asked, “Is homosexuality bad?”

Jump to September, 2010 the internet version of the newspaper Tuoi Tre, published a letter from an 18 year old reader.  He expressed the anguish he experienced when his family found out he was gay.  The letter received hundreds of supportive responses.  This led to an interview with Dr. Huynh Van Son, Dean of Psychology, at MCMC University.  The Dean was so successful in his argument that the state media agreed that “homosexuality is normal.”

The first foreign gay wedding was held on August 5, 2010 in Hanoi between a Japanese and an Irish national.  In 2012 the first gay pride parade in communist Hanoi took place with dozens of cyclists displaying rainbow flags.  The total number of participants was about one hundred.

Go, Girls, Go!

Gay pride celebrations have taken place in Myanmar (Burma) and Laos reflecting signs of a developing liberalizing in South East Asia.

Vietnam still remains largely taboo because of Confucian moralsemphasize tradition and family.  Gays are routinely portrayed in the medi as comical figures.

It is the judicial system that has made news.  Minister Ha Hung Cuong said in 2012 that it is time to change the law to recognize same sex marriage.  We wait with hope and support for our brothers and sisters in Vietnam.