Vietnam photo exhibit seeks to highlight normalcy of gay couples

TN News

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A photograph from the exhibition "The Pink Choice" shows a homosexual man washing his partner's hair.

Hanoi's Goethe Institute Thursday was packed with visitors for the opening of Vietnam's first photography exhibition detailing the daily lives of homosexual couples.

Maika Elan's "The Pink Choice" is a collection of 45 photos selected from over a hundred taken by the freelance photographer during a year she stayed in the homes of 70 gay couples.

Observers were visibly affected by the photos depicting the love and care that homosexuals bestow upon their partners.

Maika, who was born Nguyen Thanh Hai in Hanoi, took candid shots of gay lovers immersed in everyday activities, such as reading and watching TV.

"In fact, those gay people that I have had chance to meet are all not pessimistic, or ugly as they are portrayed in movies.

"I want straight people who see these photos to appreciate the love of those who have been pejoratively stereotyped as different. The feelings gay people give to each other are normal and spontaneous just like those of any other couple," she told VnExpress.

Among the photos, the 26-year-old photographer said she was impressed with the one showing a man eating a banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) while watching TV with his partner in a messy room.

For the project, Maika sought support from writer Nguyen Van Dung, who became famous upon publishing his autobiography "Bong" (Gay), and a gay rights organization, in order to make contacts among the homosexual communities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The exhibition is being held at the Goethe Institute, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, through December 2.

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Maika graduated from the Hanoi's University of Social Science and Humanities in 2008 and has worked as a freelance photographer since then.

She has participated in many national and overseas photography exhibitions. In September, her works were chosen to be showcased at Nottingham's World Event Young Artist Festival in the UK.

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