30/07/2015 – 02/08/2015
Since 2012, Viet Pride has started and developed to become a movement with the participation and empowerment of a variety of actors, from informal LGBT collectives, online and offline networks, to formal organisations and transnational, inter-governmental entities. Such diversity of representation and forces has brought about significant changes for the LGBTQ community in Vietnam on several fronts, from laws and policies to conversations and dialogues of LGBTQ rights spoken in the local, everyday language and in places close to home – workplaces, classrooms, and families.
As of 2014, Viet Pride celebrations have taken place in 17 cities and provinces across Vietnam, with the most prominent ones being in Hanoi and Saigon. This works to ensure that the untold stories will be told, the invisible faces will be visible, the silenced voice will be heard, and equal rights will be protected. This is happening, because of all the people who have chosen to stand on the right side of history and those who will, both in Vietnam and everywhere in the world.
Building on the momentum since 2012, Viet Pride 2015 has presented significant LGBT initiatives from the July 30 to August 02. Most notably:
1) Viet Pride Scholarship: Starting in 2014, the Viet Pride Scholarship has gone on in its second round to provide assistance for disadvantaged LGBT youth to obtain vocational education or Bachelor degrees. Last year’s awardees, Vivian Tran and Nguyen Minh Tri, will join the 5 new awardees of 2015, including Tran Quang Huy, Le Quang Thanh Phuc, Do Phuong Linh, Tu Thanh Thuy, and Huynh Cong Minh on stage at Viet Pride 2015 Opening.
2) Equal Office campaign brings LGBT knowledge, visibility and educational materials to the workplace, targeting office workers and employers across Vietnam. The campaign is building its groundwork and will kick-start with two dialogues between campaign organisers and businesses in Hanoi and Saigon, supported by the Dutch Embassy, US Consulate, US Embassy, and PwC Vietnam.
3) PFLAG will appear at Viet Pride to share about the coming-out experience in the parent-child relationship, as well as other contexts where coming-out happens for both LGBT children and parents of LGBT people. The talk is preceded by a 30-min documentary ‘A Family Affair’ by Human Rights in Pictures from the Netherlands.
4) Viet Pride bicycle rally will take place on the last day of the celebration, August 02, from Giang Vo Lake to the American Club where a gathering will take place together with live music, free drinks, and closing remarks. Singer Huong Giang Idol will make a special appearance at the event.
The last three years have seen significant and groundbreaking developments in the LGBT scene in Vietnam. Alongside with legal advocacy that has resulted in major changes in same-sex marriage law, Viet Pride serves as one of the most powerful venues for social change in attitude towards same-sex relationships and gender non-conformity. This has been reflected through the wide coverage of the events by media both local and international, a coalition of supporters consisting of many diplomatic missions and NGOs, and the participation of numerous grass-roots communities and LGBT individuals. “Celebration of Pride is important everywhere in the world, including here in Vietnam where sex and sexuality remain a taboo topic, and the LGBT community experience discrimination, prejudice, and injustices in many different forms. It is also important because it forges a sense of community, especially for those who are still in the closet. ‘We are Queer, We are Here’ goes a long way in asserting the existence of LGBT not only to the heterosexual majority but also amongst members of the minority themselves”, said Nguyen Thanh Tam, Viet Pride organiser.