Post submitted by HRC staff with contributions from Javier Cifuentes.
Last month, HRC Global proudly supported Viet Pride 2016, Vietnam’s fifth annual LGBTQ pride celebration. Since their inaugural pride celebration in 2012, Viet Pride has gathered thousands of LGBTQ individuals and allies to celebrate the LGBTQ and allied community in Vietnam and to advocate for an end to LGBTQ discrimination in the country.
Several LGBTQ-related events throughout Vietnam preceded Viet Pride 2016 throughout the month of August. The official kick off was held at the Goethe Institute in Hanoi on August 19. The opening ceremony successfully united a diverse group of Vietnamese LGBTQ activists and foreign leaders. Among those present was Ted Osius, the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam. Osius, who is openly gay, has been very vocal about his support for full LGBTQ equality in Vietnam and around the globe.
Thirty-three different events were held peacefully throughout Vietnam as part of Viet Pride, including several film screenings, workshops and exhibitions, all leading up to the annual pride parade and bike ride, which was in Hanoi on August 21. Several government-owned news outlets promoted the events and more than 1,000 participants came out to show their support for LGBTQ equality in Vietnam.
“It is both amazing and unbelievable how much the LGBT movement in Vietnam, and Viet Pride in particular, has grown in the last 5 years,” Viet Pride organizer Tam Nguyen told HRC. “The movement and Viet Pride have pushed for equal rights for LGBT Vietnamese on several fronts, both legal and social, and they are also expanding the civil society space for many other marginal groups and social, political issues.”
Opening the possibility of Vietnamese marriage equality in the near future, the government of Vietnam has demonstrated its increasing awareness of LGBTQ issues through its growing support of Viet Pride in recent years. While the Vietnamese government officially lifted a nationwide ban on same-sex marriage last year, marriage equality has yet to become a reality in the country, making Viet Pride’s work to increase LGBTQ visibility especially critical.
As part of HRC’s ongoing efforts to support the LGBTQ community in Vietnam, HRC financially sponsored this year’s pride events. In June, HRC partnered with the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, to host a global equality summit. The summit brought together corporate allies, civil society leaders and local diplomatic community members to advance local efforts on LGBTQ workplace inclusion and business engagement.
To learn more about the HRC’s work to strengthen the LGBTQ equality movement in Vietnam and other regions of the world, please visit: www.hrc.org/global.