Vietnam transgender people celebrate historic legal recognition

By Tan Cu - Bui Thu - Vu Phuong, Thanh Nien News

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People gather on Ho Chi Minh City's Nguyen Hue Street to celebrate lawmakers' recognition of their rights. Photo: Vu Phuong People gather on Ho Chi Minh City's Nguyen Hue Street to celebrate lawmakers' recognition of their rights. Photo: Vu Phuong


Hundreds of people have gathered in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday night to celebrate a newly approved law that recognizes rights for transgender people. 
Despite the rain, people laughed, cried and hugged each other in happiness on Nguyen Hue Street, in front of the townhall. 
They shouted out: “We are transgender people" and “Thank you National Assembly." Some hold banners that read “Trans rights are human rights” and “We are writing history."
The approval of the Amended Civil Code, which will take effect in 2017, is a humane decision that is expected to help end discrimination against transgender people, they said. The law will, for the first time, allow people who have undergone gender reassignment to register under the new gender. 
“Registering for an ID card with my true gender identity is no longer just a dream. I will no longer be embarrassed when applying for a job and other papers,” said Gia Ky, a transgender woman.
Tran Anh Vu, 23, said she always wanted to change her name to Tran An Vy but could not.
“I have fought for my true identity since I was a teenager,” she said. 
Huynh Minh Thao, communication manager of HCMC-based LGBT network ICS, said that it was a very special day for LGBT people, especially transgender people, when their rights were finally recognized.
“This is a great development. I am really happy and proud. I hope the National Assembly will introduce detailed regulations on the issue soon.”
Transgender people have faced discrimination in their family, school and society and many have to work in unstable jobs or do sex work, he said.
“With the decision today, Vietnam has untied the knots to help transgender people be recognized by the society and face no more discrimination.”
Cao Kim Chau, a 50-year-old mother of a transgender man, said she was very happy. 
“Love and understanding will win. Any parent loves their children. It is true that I want my son to be free and happy,” she said.
Tang Ai Linh, a transgender man who got married to a woman 10 years ago, said his marriage has been recognized by family, and not under the law.
“The new law is a victory of love and humanity,” Linh told Thanh Nien. 

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