- January 27, 2014
Post submitted by Hyacinth Alvaran, HRC Diversity Program Manager
On February 1, the LGBT Vietnamese community will march in the annual Tết parade in Little Saigon of Orange County after the local Vietnamese community voted for LGBT inclusion in the parade. Viet Rainbow of Orange County (VROC) will be leading this contingent. Supportive organizations, including HRC, plan to show their encouragement by gathering members to convey a positive message as part of the parade audience.
The Tết parade is a cornerstone cultural event for the Vietnamese community in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Even though the broader Vietnamese community in Orange County voted for LGBT inclusion in the parade, a new code of conduct that specifies the types of flags, banners, and attire permitted in the parade leaves open the question of whether symbols commonly used by the LGBT community, such as the rainbow flag, are also permitted. VROC has posed this question to the parade organizers, the Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California, but has not received a response.
“Tết is a time to celebrate with family, friends, and the community,” said Hieu Nguyen, founder of VROC. “We value the Little Saigon Tết parade as a cultural celebration, and are marching to celebrate and be visible as both Vietnamese American and LGBTQ. VROC believes that as a community, we are not complete without each other.
We respect this parade as a cultural celebration and will participate in a manner that continues to progress the Vietnamese American community and the community at large. We are also proud of our identities and want to share that with everyone. We will proudly carry the rainbow flag alongside other flags to help us communicate our message of hope to the world, and especially to LGBTQ youth.
We invite HRC members and other community supporters to stand with us in solidarity by being part of the parade audience. Please wear purple or rainbow t-shirts and bring rainbow flags! The positive show of support will really mean a lot to us, and illustrate that communities can and do come together!”
The Vietnamese community in Orange County is the largest in the U.S., which is why full inclusion in the parade has been attracting significant attention and can send a strong signal to the rest of the country, especially Asians and Pacific Islanders across the U.S. In Vietnam, LGBT and ally advocates have made progress in addressing cultural taboos about the LGBT community and advancing equality. The 2nd LGBT Pride in Vietnam that took place in Hanoi in August 2013 drew 200 people without confrontation from police; three months later, in November, the government voted to decriminalize same-sex weddings and give same-sex couples the right to live together.
To join HRC in showing support to the LGBT Vietnamese community at this upcoming Tết parade, please click here.