The event was part of the national VietPride 2014 celebrations slated to be held in 17 cities and provinces from July 18 to August 3. More than 2,000 people joined in Ho Chi Minh City’s July 20 event that comprised film screenings, talk shows, and music performances, according to talkvietnam.com.
This is only the third time for such an event to take place in Vietnam.
Huynh Minh Thao, communication and service manager of the Information Connecting and Sharing organization which assures and supports the LGBT community rights in Vietnam, said the event aimed at promoting members self-confidence as well as calling for support from society and people who do not belong to the LGBT community.
“Through Viet Pride 2014, we hope that LGBT people will always have a positive attitude to live their lives to the fullest, contribute good things to the society as well as give a hand to those in need of help,” Thao said.
Besides the participation of local artists, the event saw performances from Jessica Drag Queen, a popular dancing band among the Ho Chi Minh City LGBT community comprised of gay and transsexual members.
Josh Black, an expatriate from Scotland who joined the LGBT event for the first time, expressed hope that the LGBT community in Vietnam would be well-developed in the near future.
“I used to attend an event for the LGBT community in London and it was different from that of Vietnam as people drink and get drunk. Here, people only dance and sing to celebrate their day but the atmosphere is still exciting and interesting,” he said.
The event’s highlight was “Pride Walk,” in which people wore pink T-shirts – this year’s dress code – carried LGBT’s rainbow flags and paraded around the city’s main streets.
The last two years have seen the LGBT community become more confident and increasingly visible, with high profile activities such as flash mob performances music and photography shows.
Currently, LGBT activists are preparing for the third Viet Pride in August, which is expected to be the biggest yet since it first gay pride parade in Hanoi in 2012 when the Vietnam’s Justice Ministry suggested including same-sex couples in its overhaul of the Marriage and Family Law.
However, legal rights for cohabiting same-sex couples are yet to be legally accepted.
Vietnam, which has a population of 90 million, has an estimated 1.65 million LGBT people.