Here are some interesting items out of LGBT Vietnam:
The Tenth Great Thing, a stunning 12-minute video about the love between two young men. Very appropriately timed for the government’s discussion about same-sex marriages. June 2013.
Vietnam has decided to drop its fines against same-sex marriage, although it will not be recognizing them. The country will also allow them to cohabit as a couple and share a household registration book, meaning they are allowed binding relations in terms of property, children, and related rights and obligations. For more information:
“Vietnam to remove fines on same-sex marriage,” Tuoi Tre news
Read a fuller interview about Vietnam’s family law change with Le Quang Binh of Vietnam’s Institute for Studies of Society, Economics and Environment.
Read the Vietnam Marriage and Family Law. Of particular note, Chapter 2, Article 10 (5) outlining marriage registration; Chapter 6 establishing family support requirements; and Chapter 12 regarding violations.
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The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status, but enforcement of these prohibitions was uneven, and the law does not address discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The law does not address prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. There was no reported official discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but societal discrimination and stigma remained pervasive.
No laws criminalize consensual same-sex sexual conduct, although by decree, individuals may not change their gender.
A lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community existed but was largely underground. A survey and study conducted by the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy, and the Environment beginning in 2010 and reported in December noted that 87 percent of participants did not fully understand LGBT concerns or had a very limited understanding of LGBT rights. The study, based on surveying 854 males and females above age 18 and interviews in representative cities (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) and provinces (Ha Nam and An Giang), concluded that misunderstandings about and prejudice against LGBT individuals led directly to discrimination or harassment in the workplace, most often by disgruntled fellow employees or a supervisor. The institute also reported that government officials, the Women’s Union, and the Lawyers Association participated in sensitivity training during the year. Most LGBT persons chose not to tell family of their sexual orientation for fear of being disowned, and a 2011 online survey, conducted by the Information Sharing and Connecting Group with more than 1,000 LGBT respondents, noted that their families forced more than 20 percent into counseling.
On August 5, more than 100 individuals demonstrated in Hanoi for equal rights in the country’s first gay pride parade. Organizers requested but did not receive permission, and there were no incidents.
In May the Ministry of Justice solicited input from NGOs involved in LGBT advocacy concerning possible 2013 revisions on same-sex cohabitation in family and marriage law. Several NGOs collaboratively submitted a plan of action that included a public relations campaign and a strategy to inform members of the National Assembly about the importance of rewriting the law.
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From the U.S. State Department Human Rights Reports, 2010:
Vietnam: Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
A homosexual community exists but was largely underground. There are no laws that criminalize homosexual practices. There was no official discrimination in employment, housing, statelessness, or access to education or health care based on sexual orientation, but social stigma and discrimination was pervasive. Most homosexual persons chose not to tell family of their sexual orientation for fear of being disowned.
There was growing public awareness of homosexuality and little evidence of direct official discrimination based on sexual orientation. In contradiction of the penal code, the chief judge of the Quang Binh Provincial People’s Court in August refused to prosecute the gang rape of a transsexual, claiming the code did not address rape of transgendered individuals.