Who would have thought that a Canadian-made film set in urban India that centers on a love story between two women would be such a hit in Vietnam? Staff at the Embassy of Canada to Vietnam certainly did!
In recent years, civil society in Vietnam has been increasingly active in the public sphere, including online, with a view to de-stigmatising the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. Throughout August, Viet Pride events were held in 12 cities.
In recognition of the second annual Viet Pride day celebrations the Embassy supported a screening of Canadian film director Deepa Mehta’s “Fire” which has contributed to the discussion on same-sex marriage and LGBT rights in Vietnam.
Canada’s new Ambassador to Vietnam David Devine noted that “Canada vigorously supports equality for all – regardless of gender, religion, colour, race, age or sexual orientation.” The Embassy was happy to partner with a local civil society organization on a screening of “Fire” to promote dialogue on gender equality and LGBT rights.
The Viet Pride Day screening was followed by a moderated discussion on LGBT experiences in Vietnam. All participants, regardless of sexual orientation, were deeply touched by the film.
“The concept of being happy in a marriage does not only occur to heterosexual couples, but also homosexual pairs. The key to any marriage success is not gender issues but love and sympathy.” – Participant
Another participant expressed gratitude towards the host NGO and the Embassy of Canada for the opportunity to watch such a meaningful movie. “I hope the national cinema would be able to produce products featuring such real and beautiful homosexual relationships,” they said.
Moreover, a representative from the Law department of National University Vietnam suggested that the film inspired everyone in the hall to better understand LGBT people and a Vietnamese film director also present remarked that the film has motivated him to produce LGBT related movies in the future.
The Embassy is active in supporting civil society efforts on human rights for LGBT in Vietnam and is encouraged by recent political developments - Vietnam has lifted its ban on same-sex marriage, becoming the first Southeast Asian country to promote homosexual rights.