LGBT parade draws huge crowd in downtown Saigon

By Minh Hung, Thanh Nien News

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More than 5,000 people paraded on Nguyen Hue Street in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday to call for rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The parade was to cheer the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in the US as well as to push for a similar policy in Vietnam, said the organizer ICS, a Ho Chi Minh City-based network for LGBT people.
The two-hour evening parade was flooded with rainbow flags, slogans like “love is love,” free hugs and music.
“The parade attracted not only LGBT people but others who support them,” said Huynh Minh Thao of ICS.
Many people in Vietnam have changed their Facebook’s profile picture to the rainbow flag to show their support, he said.
Thao said that the new development in the US has inspired LGBT communities in many other countries.
“This is a chance for our society to adopt a positive view towards LGBT people and recognize their rights,” he said.
A similar activity, Viet Pride, was held for the first time in Vietnam when many LGBT people cycled in Hanoi in 2012. Similar activities have spread to 12 cities and provinces nationwide since.
Vietnam has already lifted a ban on same-sex marriage. The country however does not provide legal recognition for same-sex couples.

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