While the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Vietnam may have stalled for the moment, organizers of the third annual Viet Pride festival remain enthusiastic about the event.
This year’s theme for the festival is ‘Together’ and it will take place over five days from 1-5 August with its signature Viet Pride LGBTI bicycle rally on Sunday 3 August through the streets of Hanoi.
Viet Pride aims to sustain the momentum for LGBTI rights in Vietnam as well as creating a meeting point for the various LGBTI groups around the country and a place to foster dialogue between the LGBTI community and strategic partners such as civil society groups and United Nations agencies.
This year’s Viet Pride festival promises a wide range of activities in a cosy, vibrant and colorful atmosphere.
Organizers are expecting a convoy of rainbow bikes with huge rainbow flags along the rally route in the center of the capital in the hope that visibility can change social attitude in Vietnam where homosexuality remains a taboo.
‘For a collectivistic and patriarchal society like Vietnam, homophobia persists, often times in very subtle forms, but deep-rooted and internalized,’ Viet Pride director Nguyen Thanh Tam said.
‘In such context, Pride is important because it upholds the value of tolerance, diversity, and equality. It also reminds us that we have a fight to fight, until the day that the concept of together is no longer entitled to only heterosexual people, and every community, despite the differences, should be treated with dignity and respect.’
Last year around 250 people took part in the ride and organizers are hoping to better that number this year, with nearly 400 people already indicating they intend to take part on Facebook.
Viet Pride in 2014 is being supported by the embassies of the Netherlands and the United States and a range of other partners including Civil Rights Defenders, the Goethe Institute, UNDP, USAID, The Closet, 6+, PFLAG, ICS, The Hanoi Social Club and Puku Café as well as the Amazin LêThi Foundation and the Harvey Milk Foundation.