Gay in vietnam: on its way to an ‚lgbtq+ paradies

The fact that there was visibly little budget for the production really didn’t seem to have bothered anyone when the My Best Gay Friends series started on YouTube in 2013. The series reaches millions of views within a very short time. Even though homosexuality & being Gay in Vietnam was still described as a social evil by a national television broadcaster in 2002, comparable to prostitution & illegal gambling. Lớn understand how the situation for the LGBT community in Vietnam has improved, take a look at the neighboring countries in South East Asia.

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Table of Contents show
1 Gay in Vietnam: The legal situation for LGBTQ+
2 Collect facts lớn further improve the situation
3 Gaining the tư vấn of the population through sympathy
4 Smart resistance: the first Hanoi Pride on bicycles
5 High risk for transgender people
6 Gay in Vietnam: Legally, much is still a gray area
7 LGBTQ+ và Gay travelers in Vietnam

In Southeast Asia, homosexuality is still often illegal & is understood as an illness or punishment for sins in a previous life. But the LGBT activists in Vietnam have found their own way to improve the situation for the community. Couple of Men reporter Sarah traveled around the Asian country alone as a woman & could get an idea about the local LGBTQ+ community in Vietnam. After Georgia, Lebanon, Myanmar, & Russia, she is now analyzing the country of gay & LGBTQ + in Vietnam for Couple of Men.

Written by Sarah TekathTranslated by Karl Krause

Gay in Vietnam rainbow flag smiling girl pride © Hanoi Pride

Gay in Vietnam: The legal situation for LGBTQ+

Compared khổng lồ other countries in Southeast Asia, the legal situation of LGBTQ+ in Vietnam is much more relaxed, first, because homosexuality is not punishable by law and, even though same-sex marriage is not permitted, partnerships are possible. However, this has only been the case since 2013. Before that, it was common for the police lớn appear at wedding & anniversary celebrations khổng lồ impose fines, says Hoang Giang Son, Gender Justice Program Coordinator at ISEE, an NGO founded in 2007 in Hanoi, which calls campaigns for the rights of women, LGBT, and ethnic minorities.

The activist has been working for the LGBT community in Vietnam for 3.5 years, even if he has faced little discrimination in his own past. “But it is clear to lớn me that just because I was lucky that doesn’t have khổng lồ be the case with everyone. So, I think it’s important to stand up for the good cause và to strengthen the community. After all, there is still a lot of lack of understanding and discrimination in the country – for example, of families or teachers.”


Gay Travel Index 2020

The annual updated ranking of Spartacus’ Gay Travel Index for 2019 informs travelers about lesbians, gays, bisexuals, và transgender people in 202 countries & regions around the world. Which countries are gay-friendly? Where vì LGBTQ + travelers have to lớn be extra careful?

Vietnam at Gay Travel Index >

In the same year 2013, the “I do” campaign, abbreviated lớn ‘I vày agree with same-sex marriage’, of the NGO ICS ran in Ho bỏ ra Minh city run nationwide. Ngo Le Phuong Linh is head of the organization and speaks of a huge success. “We could attract well-known personalities & influencers as well as people with whom many can identify, such as street vendors, khổng lồ our cause.” As a result of the action, the local government has lifted the legal ban on same-sex relationships. However, there was no official recognition.

There are also no anti-discrimination laws. Weddings etc. Are now permitted (without a legal foundation), but adoption, for example, is still not possible. “Even if it is not yet ideal, 2013 was a huge step,” says Hoang Giang Son. “The next step is now the official legalization of same-sex marriages.” ICS is already working on a campaign for this, says Ngo Le Phuong Linh.

Karl in front of the Ho đưa ra Minh statue outside Ho bỏ ra Minh thành phố People’s Committee ©

Collect facts to lớn further improve the situation

Two long-term ISEE surveys are currently underway lớn assess the current situation of members of the LGBTQ+ community in Vietnam. This is lớn demonstrate how many same-sex couples really want lớn officially marry và how big the need really is. Such facts are necessary to lớn make the government aware of the need for changes. “Nothing happens here without verifiable facts and figures,” says Hoang Giang Son. Public opinion & social acceptance are also part of these surveys. Based on this, further large-scale campaigns are khổng lồ be created in 2022/23.

But the religious foundation of Vietnam with a Buddhist majority also promotes the work of the activists. “Buddhism is about tolerance,” explains Hoang Giang Son. “Even if someone is different, it’s about understanding và accepting that person.”

Gay in Vietnam rainbow smartphone with Vietnamese Drag Queen © Hanoi Pride

Being Gay in Georgia

The current Spartacus Gay Travel Index of 2019 ranks Georgia number 95 in its ranking, with an overall rating of -2. In categories such as same-sex marriage, persecution, antidiscrimination laws or transgender rights, the country only scores in a single case with a positive rating.

How LGBTQ+ friendly is Georgia? >

Gaining the support of the population through sympathy

Hoang Giang Son says ISEE has also done important work to improve the situation for the LGBT community in Vietnam in terms of the media. Training và workshops were held with journalists in 2011/12 khổng lồ achieve an understanding of negative headlines & tendencies of news being able to lớn put people at risk. Because in the past, when social truyền thông was at the beginning, the media had created a negative image of homosexuals and the LGBTQ+ community.

So instead of connecting the LGBT community with negative news, such as unintentionally through campaigns by other NGOs in the early 2000s on HIV prevention, the focus would now be on understanding the daily problems, concerns, & discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community. “We are all citizens of this country. Why should we be treated lượt thích this & why should something as beautiful as love have to lớn lead to something as bad as suicide?” The Vietnamese population is particularly accessible to such statements and reacts with sympathy, compassion, và empathy, explains Hoang Giang Son. For example, many identify with the story of a mother who first had a problem with her son’s Coming Out but now has khổng lồ see how he is discriminated against và fear that he may commit suicide.

Gay in Vietnam LGBTQ+ Gay Pride in Vietnam © Hanoi Pride

There are now many LGBT films, series, music videos, & documentaries available, such as the award-winning work ‘Madam Phung’s Last Journey’ (2014) about a transgender band by Tham Nguyen Thi.

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Furthermore, the support within the community itself, but also from outside, is increasingly shown on social truyền thông by reporting anti-gay comments or contributions and often getting a huge response with a collective shit storm.


Being Gay in Russia

Although homosexuality is not officially illegal in Russia – same-sex sexual acts have been legal since 1993 – a law was passed in 2013 that criminalizes speaking positively about homosexuality in the presence of minors. Officially, the lawmakers aim khổng lồ protect minors. So they claim…

Being Gay in Russia >

Smart resistance: the first Hanoi Pride on bicycles

A great example of Vietnam’s LGBTQ+ community can also be seen in their creative approach to chiến dịch for their rights during Hanoi Pride. The event took place for the first time in 2012 with around 100 participants – on bicycles, as demonstrations & protests on foot require a permit. “We keep testing the limits of what is possible. And so, we go a little further each time, ”says Hoang Giang Son. For example, numerous events of the LGBT community have already been held on the grounds of the American Club in Hanoi, as they are the property of the USA and Vietnamese police officers have no authority there.

In 2017, therefore, pride took place on foot for the first time, with a few previous thử nghiệm runs in the pedestrian zone to assess the police response. The first time it was shown that waving rainbow flags led lớn a rejection of state power, so the activists wore the rainbow flags as costumes on their bodies the following week. When the local police wanted lớn stop the exercise march, even uninvolved passers-by intervened and loudly asked the officers to let the group move on. This run was later shown in all media says Hoang Giang Son.

Gay in Vietnam – Gay Pride on Bikes © Hanoi Pride

In 2018, the number of participants was more than 1,000, with the British embassy also being able to be convinced as a partner of the campaign. With every year, Hanoi Pride also receives more financial tư vấn from the private sector, often because members of the LGBT community work in influential positions in companies, says Hoang Giang Son.

The main thing, however, is not khổng lồ present the Pride as a political event. “As long as we don’t get the impression that we are a threat khổng lồ the ruling party, we are allowed to bởi vì it,” explains the activist. A confrontation would only be disadvantageous because open speech và criticism of the political system in the socialistic country of Vietnam are still extremely risky. Instead, the path of clever resistance applies here.


Gay in Lebanon

Lebanon has a reputation in the Middle East for being the most liberal of all countries when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community in general. But that doesn’t mean that the law & conservative trends within society make the situation for LGBTQ+ in Lebanon easy.

How gay-friendly is the Lebanon? >

High risk for transgender people

Despite a visible improvement in the situation for LGBTQ + in Vietnam in the past 10 years, the circumstances for trans people are still difficult. Because gender reassignment has been permitted by law since 2015, official medical guidelines are still not available five years later, so doctors only perform breast surgeries that are considered cosmetic surgeries, but no genital surgery. Trans people would therefore often opt for interventions in Thailand, in questionable clinics, since the financial budget for trustworthy doctors is often not available, knows rã Thu Nguyen. He is a doctor & important contact person of the LGBTQ+ community in Ho đưa ra Minh City, who already offered không tính tiền online counseling on HIV & AIDS in 2010 khổng lồ avoid the worry of many patients of public exposure.

Gay in Vietnam – Transgender at Pride in Vietnam © Hanoi Pride

If problems such as infections or bleeding should arise after an operation, Vietnamese doctors would offer little help. There is also little tư vấn for treatment with hormones. “Instead, many trans people buy hormones on the black market & take the preparations without medical supervision,” he says. At least he can give advice since he is not allowed lớn issue prescriptions lớn his patients. “But that’s just the price that trans people are willing to lớn pay lớn finally be themselves.”

Gay in Vietnam: Legally, much is still a gray area

Since 2018, ICS has also been offering training courses to train doctors on the special needs of trans people. In addition, chảy Thu Nguyen regularly publishes magazine articles và blog posts to lớn create a greater awareness of their situation & problems and a sound understanding of operations and hormones. “It is legally still a gray area,” says Ngo Le Phuong Linh, “because a transgender can adjust the gender with an operation – but that doesn’t change it in their passport.”

Nevertheless, awareness of the existence of trans people is growing in Vietnamese society. For example, a transgender pride took place in Ho đưa ra Minh city last November 2019. So, Vietnam isn’t quite the paradise that the local LGBT community would want, but the way seems khổng lồ be the right one.

LGBTQ+ và Gay travelers in Vietnam

The situation is also relatively relaxed for LGBT travelers who can visit Vietnam, compared lớn some surrounding countries in Southeast Asia. For example, there is the gay agency PrideDrives – Saigon Gay Tours in Ho bỏ ra Minh City, which offers thành phố tours with TukTuks and street food tours. Karl and Daan were traveling in Vietnam as well a couple of years back and were able to explore both the north và the southern part of the country, including Phu Quoc as an openly gay couple. They did not experience problems and homophobia. However, the special position of tourists abroad should not be neglected.

Gay Travel Planning:Wikipedia LGBT rights in Vietnam

Do you want to know and see more of us gay couple travel bloggers? Stay tuned on Instagram,Twitter,YouTube, andFacebook! See you around in Asia or on one of our next gay pride tripsaround theworld! Karl và Daan.

Gay Travel Blogger Karl và Daan on a Halong cất cánh Cruise ©

Photo Source: ICS Ho đưa ra Minh thành phố | Couple of MenInformation Source: Pride Drives | ICS Ho đưa ra Minh đô thị | Wikipedia