International Day Against Homophobia: highlighting the vulnerability of lesbians in Vietnam
This International Day Against Homophobia, (IDAHO, May 17) the Hanoi-based Centre for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender took the opportunity to celebrate the range of texts coming out, dedicated to sharing the experiences of lesbians in Vietnam.
Homosexuality is no longer deemed a crime in Vietnam, but issues of homophobia and violence persist in the region.
A new book published by the centre, 'Left-handed,' has highlighted the particular forms of discrimination experienced by lesbian women, through the use of moving first hand accounts.
“My daughter never made a love to a man that is why she insisted on living with a girl…” thought the father of the young and educated woman. That is why he drugged her to sleep and arranged her to be raped by one of the boys from their neighborhood. “When she woke up, she acted crazy, she refused to eat, locked herself in her room. Eventually she moved away. Later we found out she got pregnant. Now I deeply regret what I have done. I have lost my daughter.” cries the father," reads one exert from the book
CSAGA's Officer for Lesbian Issues, Chu Ngoc Bich, is hopeful that the book will contribute to raising wider awareness of of lesbian issues.
"The fact that gay men are more accepted in Vietnamese society has two possible reasons," she said in a media statement.
"Gay men are receiving more attention and assistance than lesbians. The gender equality in general - men are given more space for self-determination and deviance."
'Left-handed,' adds to the range of texts being produced by CSAGA, aimed at raising awareness. Last year's 'Which Way to the Sea,' was the first documentary dedicated to lesbian life stories, to be produced in Vietnam.
CSAGA now plans to continue its work, by producing a film, 'Crossing Over,' described as "two women's search for and navigation of lesbian identity in the context of Vietnamese collectivist culture."
For more information on the film, head to http://www.csaga.org.vn/about.htm.
For more information, or to find out how you can support the work of CSAGA, go to http://www.csaga.org.vn/.