Speaking at Vietnam's first National LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Community Dialogue held in Hanoi on June 5, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director Louise Chamberlain acknowledged the efforts of the Vietnamese government to address the struggles of LGBT citizens and their parents, family and friends.
She further noted the government's "much welcome openness" to discuss issues such as the removal of gender-specific terms in the Constitution Amendment, and the ongoing discussions to legally recognise co-habitation and relationships of two persons of the same sex.
"Such recognition would be a significant cornerstone in eliminating discrimination and achieving equality for all." She added that the UNDP is currently working with the Ministry of Justice to support legislation related to recognising same-sex relationships.
More than 100 people displaying rainbow flags walked, cycled or rode their motorcycles down Hanoi’s busy streets at the first Viet Pride in August last year. Photos courtesy of Viet Pride.
The National LGBT Community Dialogue was supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
According to a press statement, participants discussed progress of the LGBT movement in the country and examined difficulties facing the community in such areas as education, health, employment, family affairs, the media, community and politics. Representatives of the LGBT community shared their successes and talked about their struggles living within their families, in society, at school and at work. Civil society organisations discussed initiatives to raise awareness of LGBT people in society and reduce discrimination of LGBT people.
“The LGBT community in Viet Nam has been actively advocating for LGBT-inclusive development,,” said Tran Khac Tung, Director of Information, Connecting and Sharing (ICS), a community organisation of LGBT people, in the statement. “We have made significant progress, although some gaps still exist.”
Many LGBT-related events are now held in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Cantho and Danang, with Hanoi hosting the city's second gay pride parade from August 2-4.
The dialogue was organised by ICS as part of Being LGBT in Asia, a regional research initiative by USAID and UNDP to assess the situation of LGBT persons in Asia. Vietnam is one of the six participating countries including Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, The Philippines, and China.
The Being LGBT in Asia initiative promotes understanding of the challenges LGBT people face in terms of stigma and discrimination and steps toward LGBT-inclusive development within USAID, UNDP and development partners through research reports and multimedia products.
The initiative encourages participation from the community to submit reports to the Crowdmap and to get involved in their other social media platforms. Training sessions will be conducted on how to use the tools at the upcoming “Being LGBT in Asia” national community dialogues to be held in Indonesia, Viet Nam, The Philippines, and China later this year.
To connect with and contribute to “Being LGBT in Asia”:
Instagram and Twitter: @beinglgbtinasia
QQ Tencent: t.qq.com/beinglgbtinasia/