|There should be better communication and joint cooperation between the government, business community, and social organisations in promoting LGBT rights and community involvement. — Photo vneconomictimes.com
HA NOI (VNS) — There is still a gap between the laws protecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) rights and public opinion towards LGBT folks in Viet Nam, according to the deputy head of the Ministry of Justice's International Law Department, Nguyen Thanh Tu.
An LGBT-themed event sponsored by the Economist newspaper debated this and other LGBT topics in Hong Kong today.
Viet Nam recently has made positive legal changes to protect LGBT rights, said Tu.
In 2014, the Law on Family and Marriage removed the prohibition of same-sex marriage. In November last year, the National Assembly legalised gender reassignment, recognising all transgender people and their legal rights within their new gender.
Up to 86 per cent of National Assembly deputies voted in favour of LGBT rights. But there is still a gap between the law and reality when it comes to tolerance of LGBT roles and rights, said Tu.
A survey of 3,000 LGBT people in Viet Nam revealed that about 21 per cent still suffer discrimination in the workplace. About 44 per cent suffer discrimination in school. And more than 40 per cent suffer discrimination in their families, according to Tu.
The concept of a patriarchal family is central to some Asian countries' cultural values. As a result, the idea of producing a son to carry the biological line is still powerful. The fact that homosexual couples can not produce biological children contributes to low LGBT acceptance in Asian countries including Viet Nam, according to speakers.
To close the gap between law and reality, there should be better communication and joint cooperation between the government and the business community, both of which often remain silent on LGBT rights issues. Social organisations should also be encouraged to promote LGBT rights and community involvement, said Tu.
According to Hoang Tu Anh, Director of the Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population, family should also play a role in promoting LGBT rights.
"While some parents accept their gay child, many find it hard to accept the truth and have negative reactions towards their child", said Tu Anh.
"Parents should bear in mind that it is happiness and how a child enjoys his life that matters", she added.
"More projects for the LGBT community to make their voices heard must be made available, so that the public becomes aware that LGBT is not something new", said Tu Anh.
Viet Nam is the sixth country in Asia - and the second country in Southeast Asia - to allow gender reassignment and to recognize transgender people. — VNS