Viet Pride Movement
In 1970, following the groundbreaking Stonewall Riots, the United States saw its first Pride marches. Since then, Pride has become a global phenomenon aiming to raise awareness, educate about the diversity of sexuality, and empower sexual minorities. In countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands, and Australia, Pride is an annual event attracting millions of participants—including politicians, activists, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and the allies supporting their rights.
The year 2012 marked the first Pride festival in Vietnam, a country in which homosexuality remains taboo. For the first time ever, Vietnam saw the rainbow flag freely waving at its capital’s streets, bringing tears to the eyes of many Vietnamese LGBTs. Like Pride elsewhere in the world, Viet Pride joins the global call to end prejudice, discrimination, shame, and invisibility on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Together with Pride, the LGBT movement in Vietnam has never been stronger. However, equality and dignity for LGBT people has yet to become reality. Misunderstanding and social stigma is still widespread. Insinuation, ridicule, parents’ disapproval, and humiliation are experiences familiar to many LGBTs. In schools, families, offices, factories, their dignity and security are still compromised. Many LGBTs, especially youth, live in fear of being disowned, despised, or treated differently.
On March 7, 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council held the first ever meeting to discuss discrimination and violence against LGBT people. During Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s remarks, he said: “To those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender let me say – you are not alone! Your struggle for an end to violence and discrimination is a shared struggle. We must tackle the violence, ban discrimination and educate the public. The time has come.”
The untold miseries must be told. The invisible faces must be made visible. The silenced voice must be heard. Equal rights must be given. Let us be the change we want to see. Let us walk in the parade of tolerance and understanding. Let us stand together once again, on the first weekend of August every year in Vietnam, to celebrate the pride in ourselves, the pride in our LGBT fellows, and the pride in standing on the right side of history.