What is the secret to being gay and happy?
That was one of the questions put to openly gay US ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius last week by readers of the VietNamNet Bridge website.
‘Many readers said that they greatly admire you as you are an ambassador who has disclosed your sexual orientation and has been supported by the world community,’ the interviewer said.
She then asked Osius to share some wisdom with the LGBTI community in Vietnam.
‘I think there are two very important things in life. One is love and being loved. Two is live meaningfully,’ he said in Vietnamese.
‘In my opinion, they are two important things for everyone, whether he is homosexual or not.
‘My advice for homosexual people is live with honesty and dedication. I think when we live honestly and wholeheartedly, we will have a happy life.’
Osius became the first openly gay ambassador in east Asia in December and said he spent Christmas in Hanoi with his husband, Clayton Bond, and their son, Tabo.
Vietnam lifted a ban on gay marriage last month, although same-sex unions are still not legally recognized.
Luong The Huy, legal officer at the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment, said having a gay US ambassador would help advance LGBTI rights in the country.
‘He promotes a very good image of a very successful person who is gay,’ he told Bloomberg.
‘We could get more support from civil society in Vietnam because the American ambassador is gay.’