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Vietnam’s LGBT community celebrates pride, softening attitudes toward gays

Sunday, August 3, 2014
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Participants in Vietnam’s annual pride parade cycle through the streets of Hanoi on Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014.

HANOI, Vietnam — The streets of Hanoi were awash with rainbow flags on Sunday as an estimated 300 gay rights advocates celebrated the nation’s largest gay pride event to date.

AFP reports that members of Vietnam’s LGBT community cycled and danced through the capital urging an end to discrimination against the LGBT community in a country where homosexuality still remains taboo.

Hanoi has faced frequent criticism by international watchdogs for human rights abuses, making it an unlikely champion for the region’s LGBT community.

But advocates say the growing pride event, now in its third year, is evidence of increasing tolerance of sexual differences.

One of the parade organizers, Nguyen Trong Dung, said gay Vietnamese need to be “accepted by their families” before wider society ends its prejudice.

“If they are recognized by their own families, they have a high chance of integrating into society,” he added.

While demonstrations of any kind are tightly controlled in communist Vietnam, police did not intervene in Sunday’s festivities.

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