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Campaign launched to promote LGBTI workplace equality in Vietnam

Campaign launched to promote LGBTI workplace equality in Vietnam

Attendees at the Work with Pride launch in Saigon, Vietnam, yesterday

A nationwide campaign has been launched in Vietnam to promote LGBTI equality in the workplace.

The ‘Work with Pride’ campaign has been launched by Viet Pride and local LGBT advocacy organization, ICS Centre. It was launched with an event on Wednesday at the American Center in Hanoi, and then a follow-up event at the American Center in Saigon on Thursday.

The initiative already has the support of global names including Google, PwC, KPMG and Baker & McKenzie, as well as smaller, local businesses such as Hanoi Social Club.

According to a Facebook statement from Viet Pride, the aim of ‘Work with Pride’ is to create a, ‘forum for LGBT activists and the corporate community to exchange ideas on cultivating diversity culture in the workplace and corporate involvement in LGBT movement in Vietnam.’

The initiative follows research undertaken earlier in the year by ICS Centre which found that nearly 50% of LGBT people polled said that they were not open about their sexuality at work.

There are currently no anti-discrimination laws in effect to protect LGBT people, although same-sex sexual activity and same-sex marriage are legal. The first Pride event in the country took place in 2012 and has grown each year since. This year’s event was supported by PwC.

Although acceptance of gay people is greater in major cities, traditional attitudes persist in more rural areas. According to a report by Monitor Global Outlook, a 2011 survey found that 70% of Vietnamese people believed homosexuality to be a sexually transmitted disease.

Clayton Bond addresses the Work with Pride launch event on Wednesday
Clayton Bond addresses the Hanoi Work with Pride event on Wednesday

Addressing the Work with Pride event in Hanoi was Clayton Bond, the husband of the American Ambassador, Ted Osius.

Bond and Osius married in 2006 in Canada but recently renewed their vows in Vietnam.

According to Vietnam News, Bond told attendees, ‘Support from the business community to create more open and tolerant working environments helps drive greater change in society as a whole.’

His views were echoed by Cas van der Horst, deputy head of mission of the Netherlands Embassy in Viet Nam, who said that an inclusive work environment led to greater productivity.

‘That is why businesses need to pay attention to the special needs of their LGBTI staff members. This gives dignity to the individual and also makes sense from a business point of view.’

In a statement to Gay Star Business, Tran Khac Tung, Director of ICS Center, said: ‘We believe a workplace that is good for LGBT employees is also good for all employees. We want to work with the private sector to create an inclusive working environment for LGBT people, where they can contribute their best.

‘The businesses involved can have an opportunity to support LGBT movement and spread our shared values. It is the win-win-win situation for LGBT people, for the business and for the movement.’