Australian Government to fund LGBT project in Vietnam
The Australian Government will provide $100,000 funding this month for a project to raise public awareness on the rights of LGBT people in Vietnam.
The project to be overseen by the Hanoi-based Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) will include activities such as plays and exhibitions looking at the experiences of the country’s LGBT population as well as legal assistance for people who are discriminated because of their sexuality or gender identity.
Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Allaster Cox, said the funds would also help training courses to be organised for government officials to better understand the rights of the Southeast Asian country’s LGBT community.
“Lesbians and gay, bisexual and transgender people are part of the society, and their legal needs and rights should be respected,” Cox said.
“This project is expected to make a significant contribution to fighting discrimination against lesbians and gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
iSEE, an independent, not-profit research organisation which advocates for the rights of minority groups in society, expects the project to reach at least 20,000 students and members of the public, 200 LGBT people, 500 of their parents and friends, and 75 government officials in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam currently has a population of over 90 million people, and although same-sex relations for both men and women are not illegal, same-sex couples and households are not eligible for the same legal protections as heterosexual couples, while it was only in 2010 that a major state-owned media network confirmed for the first time that "homosexuality is normal".
The funding was announced just ahead of this year’s Annual National Conference of the LGBT Community in Vietnam to take place on March 19.