The UN in Viet Nam comes together with LGBTI persons for Change on this International day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (Idahobit) 2021

Ha Noi (Viet Nam), 17 May 2021 – The United Nations (UN) in Viet Nam is joining all people and organisations around the world commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) on 17 May. This year, we highlight the theme of coming together, focusing on the resilience and strength of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) persons and their communities.

Ha Noi (Viet Nam), 17 May 2021 – The United Nations (UN) in Viet Nam is joining all people and organisations around the world commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) on 17 May. This year, we highlight the theme of coming together, focusing on the resilience and strength of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) persons and their communities.

The United Nations (UN) in Viet Nam is joining all people and organisations around the world commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (#IDAHOBIT) on 17 May.

In 2020, IDAHOBIT came as Viet Nam was in the midst of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. Since then, Viet Nam’s whole-of-government and whole-of-society response to the pandemic has been internationally recognised.

Nevertheless, some groups, including LGBTI persons, sex workers and persons living with HIV, were greatly impacted by the pandemic, through loss of income and employment, increased domestic violence (in particular against women), lack of access to timely medical treatment, and even being forced to choose between unsafe homes or becoming homeless. In addition to their contributions as COVID-19 frontline workers, communities joined forces to support each other and to protect those most at risk. LGBTI groups disseminated public health safety information within their networks. Surveys and studies were undertaken to assess the impact of the pandemic and of response measures. Campaigns were launched to raise awareness and overcome challenges. Trans women and gay men sex workers used peer support systems to provide livelihoods and uninterrupted access to health, STI and HIV services. For example, Jessica, a community leader and trans woman in Ho Chi Minh City mobilised funding and in-kind support for trans people in the city and other Southern Provinces who were in difficulty due to COVID-19.

The LGBTI community has demonstrated its adaptability and strength, continuing to push for positive change, despite the obstacles posed by COVID-19. Pride events were moved online, campaigns were launched (including ‘I Do’ for marriage equality), movements were strengthened (such as trans community advocacy for legal gender recognition), training was provided on digital skills and for those seeking employment, and vital events were maintained. For example, during Tet, a community space in Hanoi welcomed LGBTI people who were following Government advice not to return to their families and hometowns. By the end of 2020, LGBTI persons and allies were able to come together more often physically, including at national convenings and regional workshops, to reinforce their advocacy efforts.

This year, we highlight the theme of coming together, focusing on the resilience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) persons and their communities in Viet Nam.

Much of this advocacy has focused on supporting the Government to translate into action the significant commitments made during the Universal Periodic Review in 2019.[1] Three years on, it is vital that a Gender Affirmation Law based on self-determination and de-pathologization be passed, that the Marriage and Family Law be amended to ensure equality and protection of same sex couples and rainbow families, and that prohibitions on discrimination against LGBTI persons in all areas of life be implemented. Such reforms must continue to be developed in close collaboration with LGBTI persons and defenders, community-based organisations and support services, civil society, business leaders and other partners.

On behalf of the UN in Viet Nam, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Kamal Malhotra notes that “in the face of great challenges, the LGBTI communities have shown even greater resilience.” Mr. Malhotra reiterates that protecting the rights of LGBTI persons cuts across the Sustainable Development Goals and is key to Leaving No One Behind. He concludes, “Viet Nam has made encouraging advances in protecting the human rights of LGBTI persons, and together we – the Government, development partners, civil society and community members – can all build a society where every person is truly safe, free and equal.”

[1] Third Cycle Universal Periodic Review of Viet Nam, Recommendation 38.109: Develop legislation against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender Identity; Recommendation 38.97: Take further steps to ensure the protection of all vulnerable groups in society including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons; Recommendation 38.93: Enact legislation to ensure access to gender affirmation treatment and legal gender recognition.

Media Contacts
UN entities involved in this initiative
FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
ILO
International Labor Organization
IOM
International Organization for Migration
RCO
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
UNAIDS
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNESCO
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
WHO
World Health Organization