The LGBT community got on their bikes to fill Hanoi streets with vibrant colors yesterday as part of the fifth annual VietPride.
The “Viet Pride – Path of Pride” parade organized by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community Sunday morning called for eradication of homophobia in Vietnam.
Hundreds of LGBT people and their supporters, including U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius and many other diplomats, joined the parade to celebrate the freedom of love and personal expression, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“My most special feeling when I am in Pride is when I stand with other people and realize that I am not alone,” said Chu Thanh Ha a transgender man from the youth leadership group NextGEN. “At the same time, you feel small but you also feel part of something so big,”
The parade was part of the fifth annual Vietnam LGBT Pride that run from August 19-21. Over three days, the LGBT community held film screenings, talks, as well as musical events, speed dating, forum theater, LGBT history exhibition, and a PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) panel.
Viet Pride, which first started in 2012, is a movement advocating for an end of prejudice, discrimination, shame, and invisibility faced by LGBT people. Viet Pride celebrations have taken place in more than a dozen of cities and provinces across Vietnam, with the most prominent ones being in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
In the last four years, Vietnam has made numerous legislative changes towards increased acceptance of LGBT rights. In 2013, the government abolished fines on same sex marriages and a year later the parliament repealed the constitutional provision defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Since 2015, the law has allowed same sex weddings but still not recognized same sex marriage. Also in November of that year, Vietnam passed a landmark law allowing those who have undergone reassignment to register under a new gender.