(CPV) - A first-ever national dialogue on the legal and social challenges facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Viet Nam kicked off today with representatives of LGBT people throughout the country; civil society organizations working on LGBT issues; United Nations agencies and other development partners.
The National LGBT Community Dialogue was supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Participants discussed progress of the LGBT movement in Viet Nam and examined difficulties facing the community in such areas as education, health, employment, family affairs, the media, community and politics.
During the dialogue, representatives of the LGBT community shared their successes and talked about their struggles living within their families, in society, at school and at work. Civil society organizations discussed initiatives to raise awareness of LGBT people in society and reduce discrimination of LGBT people.
“The LGBT community in Viet Nam has been actively advocating for LGBT-inclusive development,,” said Tran Khac Tung, Director of Information, Connecting and Sharing (ICS), a community organization of LGBT people. “We have made significant progress, although some gaps still exist.”
“USAID welcomes increased partnership with the LGBT community in supporting Viet Nam’s development,” said USAID Mission Director Joakim Parker. “A better understanding of issues facing this important group of citizens will help improve the effectiveness of our assistance programs.”
“The United Nations Development Program cares about the rights and well-being of LGBT people in this country,” said Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Country Director in Viet Nam. “We hope that through the Viet Nam National Community Dialogue, a clear picture will emerge on how legal and social environment impact LGBT individuals and communities and how this environment affect their rights”.
The dialogue was organized by ICS as part of Being LGBT in Asia, a regional research initiative by USAID and UNDP to assess the situation of LGBT persons in Asia. Viet Nam is one of the six participating countries.
The Being LGBT in Asia initiative promotes understanding of the challenges LGBT people face in terms of stigma and discrimination and steps toward LGBT-inclusive development within USAID, UNDP and development partners through research reports and multimedia products./.