LGBT celebrate diversity in Vietnamese city

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Colorful pinwheels are sold at an LGBT festival held for the first time in Ho Chi Minh City Sunday

Nearly 800 youths in Ho Chi Minh City, many of them lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, took part last Sunday in the city's first ever festival to celebrate people's right to choose their sexual orientation.

"The festival aims to make everyone confident in affirming their sexual orientation and the community more open to them," said Luong Thai Huy, an employee at the Information Connecting and Sharing Center, which works for LGBT rights and organized the event called "Celebrating the diversity."

"There are no differences in life, only diversity."

There were games and music, and a booth selling documents about the LGBT community.

People waved the seven-color flags, which is the symbol of LGBT people.

A 22-year-old gay member of the center managed a makeup booth at the festival to send a message that people can change their appearance to be themselves.

"Many people think makeup means changes," he said.

"But to us, makeup is returning to ourselves. Some of us wear makeup to become a boy, some to become a girl.

"That is diversity based on our choices."

Dang Huu Hanh Tam, a straight college student at the festival, said attending it helped him understand LGBT people.

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"I have not managed to do anything to help them. So it is good if I can be friendly and open to them first," he said.

The event was held at the Culture and Labor Palace, 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. 

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