Same-sex sexual activity has never been addressed in Vietnam’s criminal code.
Is there anti-discrimination legislation in place?
There was an important step forward in 2006 when the government enacted legislation that gave anti-discrimination protection to people living HIV or AIDS.
Is there marriage equality?
There has however been some progress on this front in recent years. The country’s constitution used to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, however in 2013 that provision was repealed. In 2015, legislation came into effect that same-sex marriages could be performed, however no legal recognition or protection would follow. These appear to be important stepping stones to full legal recognition of same-sex relationships and marriage equality.
What’s it like for LGBTI who live there?
Same-sex relations are generally considered taboo within Vietnamese society, awareness and acceptance has been improving in recent years.
Vietnam’s first gay pride event was held in Hanoi in 2012.
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City both have gay scenes, but gay venues still keep a low profile.
Most gay Vietnamese have to hide their sexuality from their families and friends and a lot of stigma remains.
What’s it like for LGBTI who visit?
A relatively easy place to visit for gay travellers.
You shouldn’t have any dramas checking into hotels as a same-sex couple.
Be cautious about public displays of affection — culturally it’s not something that Vietnamese people do (gay or straight).
Overall rating and comments
A good place to visit and an improving situation for local people.
How you can help
Find ways to help publicise the stories and experiences of LGBTI people in Vietnam.
Time your visit to Hanoi with the annual Pride celebrations (in 2016 these were held in August). Help fly the flag for LGBTI visibility in Vietnam.
Use your networks to raise awareness of the improving situation for LGBTI people in Vietnam, and the work that still needs to be done.
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