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Homosexuality is traditionally considered taboo and while acceptance is growing, it is by no means universal. Some sections of Vietnamese society are not yet ready to accept LGBTQ people openly in the same way as heterosexuals. Same-sex intimacy remains taboo. This said, societal attitudes have changed in recent years, particularly in urban areas. More people have felt able to be open about their sexuality and the number of campaign and support groups have increased. Gay expatriates living and working in Hanoi do not appear to encounter prejudice. The arrival of US Ambassador Ted Osius and his husband Clayton Bond who are openly gay and have young children has begun to open minds about different types of families.

In 2015 Vietnam was hailed a leader on gay rights within South East Asia after the country lifted its ban on same sex marriage. In 2012 Hanoi held its first Gay Pride “Viet Pride” event, and its successor ASEAN Pride is now an annual event. For more information please see: https://www.facebook.com/ASEANpride/

However, while the Vietnamese are fairly relaxed about same sex relationships between foreigners, they are rather less so when one partner is Vietnamese. Some western embassies are authorised to register same sex marriages and civil partnership between their own nationals or between one of their own nationals and one non-Vietnamese national.

There is a low key gay scene including the popular GC bar in the Old Quarter, CAMA’s Queer Disco parties, punk gay movement “Hanoi PANIC” and a new gay magazine called Vanguardzine.