1,000 people join in Hanoi Pride Parade
Ambassadors of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) and over 50 diplomats, local staff, family members and friends joined with about 1,000 Vietnamese biking and walking together in the Hanoi Pride Parade on November 11.
Participants ride bicycles during a gay pride parade to advocate gay rights in Hanoi on November 11, 2018. Photo by Embassy of Sweden in Hanoi.
This is an annual event run by local organisations and groups to advocate the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ).
People in the parade were all smiles as they rode colourful bicycles and waved rainbow flags, marching down Hanoi's tree-lined streets. Beaming bystanders waved at drag queens dressed in floor-length gowns, who were ferried in rickshaws with the parade.
"We want to be treated equally by being allowed to get married as freely as others," said Nguyen Huong Ly, 20, who was attending the parade with her girlfriend.
Hoang Giang Son, an LGBT coordinator at iSEE, Vietnam's Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment, said activists have seen a big shift in public awareness towards LGBT rights, but same-sex marriage is still out of reach.
"I really hope same sex legalisation can happen in 2020. We will do more to help (authorities) change their minds," he said.
In Hanoi, LGBTIQ+ community and supporters rallied and paraded the center of Hanoi empowering one another and reassuring equality for all regardless of gender and sexual orientation. (Photo by UN in Vietnam)
Public attention turned to homosexuality and the LGBT community in 2012 when Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong became the first senior Vietnamese government official to publicly call for the end of prejudice against homosexual people and mentioned the once-taboo subject of same-sex marriage.
Also in 2012, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) activated a review of the Marriage and Family Law which, for the first time in Vietnamese history, brought up legal consideration of same-sex marriage.
The ministry asked all government agencies for opinions about revising the law again in an official letter sent in May, 2012, concerned that the community of gays and lesbians was expanding in the country but many lived together without registering a marriage.
It also engaged several organisations, including the Institute for Studies and Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) and the Women’s Union, in civil society consultation to get insight and relevant expertise in the LGBT community and related issues, and to assess impacts of the bill on the society.
The draft bill was submitted to the Vietnamese National Assembly for debate in 2013, making Vietnam the first country in Asia where the topic was discussed at parliamentary level.
June 19, 2014 was a special day for LGBT comunity.
After two years of discussion, the NA passed the revised law, with no clause prohibiting marriage between people of the same sex. The new law allowed same-sex couples to co-habit and have wedding ceremonies, but they are not considered a legal family.
Though the act does not recognise gay marriage, an activist called it “quite amazing change in such a short span of time,” given that the LGBT social movement was said to have only started a decade ago.
The LGBT community is excited for more big changes in the next few years as the new Law on Gender Change is being crafted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to protect the rights of transgender people.
The law is set to be submitted to parliament for review in 2019 at the latest./.