viet-prideVietnam: A series of events dedicated to the local LGBT community and to help raise awareness of sexual diversity is scheduled to take place in August.

Viet Pride 2014 is themed “Tay trong tay” (Together) and will take place from August 1 to 3 at the American Club and Goethe Institute in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi. Organizers are expecting several hundreds of participants.

Its main aim is to raise awareness of sexual diversity with the hope that LGBT people will be given the right to love and be loved like everyone else as well as to raise concerns about several issues including sexual health and legal rights, says

Events will include film screenings, musical performances, talk shows and the signature bike rally.

The 2014 event is organized by the Hanoi-based Viet Pride organization, with the support of UNDP, the Dutch Embassy and U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

This will be the third such Pride festival in Vietnam with the first being held in 2012 when the United Nations Human Rights Council held the first ever meeting to discuss discrimination and violence against LGBT people.

“Let us walk in the parade of tolerance and understanding. Let us stand together once again, on the first weekend of August every year in Vietnam, to celebrate the pride in ourselves, the pride in our LGBT fellows, and the pride in standing on the right side of history,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon had then said.

Viet Pride joins the global call to end prejudice, discrimination, shame, and invisibility on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, says the official Viet Pride website adding that such an event is necessary because equality and dignity for LGBT people has yet to become reality.

“Misunderstanding and social stigma is still widespread. Insinuation, ridicule, parents’ disapproval, and humiliation are experiences familiar to many LGBTs. In schools, families, offices, factories, their dignity and security are still compromised. Many LGBTs, especially youth, live in fear of being disowned, despised, or treated differently,” it added.

Although both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal and is believed to never have been criminalized in Vietnamese history, society is still heavily prejudiced against the LGBT.

A recent online survey of the LGBT by the Hanoi-based Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment community showed a majority had their relationship challenged by family disapproval and a lack of equality laws.

However, Vietnamese lawmakers say the country is being progressive as it has scrapped fines against same-sex even though it does not officially recognize such marriages.

You can watch the VietPride 2014 promo here: