Hanoi Pride 2017, the country’s most anticipated event for the LGBTQ community, opened on September 18 and runs until September 24 with a series of exhibitions, discussions, film screenings, a bike rally and walking march.
The capstone events of the sixth annual Hanoi Pride - the bike rally, parade, and Pride Festival - will bring together almost 1,000 LGBTQ community members and allies. Since the first celebration in 2012, Hanoi Pride (formerly Viet Pride Hanoi ) has become an annual event calling for the elimination of prejudice and discrimination against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community in Vietnam, a country in which same-sex intimacy remains taboo.
Over the last few years, Pride has become a movement spanning from informal LGBT collectives on and offline to formal organisations and transnational, inter-governmental entities. The movement has brought about significant changes for the LGBTQ community in Vietnam on several fronts: same-sex marriage is now legal, public opinion is shifting and tolerance is on the rise within workplaces, classrooms and families.
This is the first year that Hanoi Pride has been organised by a committee of 11 organisations in Hanoi working on LGBTQ rights.
Organisers said that with the theme of "Pride Capital", Hanoi Pride 2017 will reflect its city: celebrating traditional cultures while remaining open to modern changes and maintaining strong family ties while empowering individual.
Vuong Kha Phong, secretary of Hanoi Pride, said it is important to celebrate Pride every year to show people living all over the country that LGBTQ people are standing up to ask for their rights.
“May be people in Hanoi will have opportunity to know better about LGBTQ community than those living in remote regions,” he said. “If Hanoi Pride can get lots of support and success in the city, this will further motivate the organisers of this event in other regions of Vietnam.”
Hoang Giang Son, a member of NextGEN association - a network of young leaders working on LGBTQ issues - said "continuing discrimination faced by LGBTQ people made Pride essential".
“I want to continue to organise this event because many of my friends who are in LGBTQ community are still discriminated,” Son said. “I will continue to act for the rights of LGBTQ community as long as it still happens.”
The bike rally will start at 2pm on September 24 at Nam Cao Street near Giang Vo Lake. The parade and Pride festival will begin at 4pm at the American Club, located at 19-21 Hai Ba Trung Street.VNA