VIETNAM TRAVEL

 

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GAY & LESBIAN TRAVELLERS

Vietnam is a relatively hassle-free place for homosexuals. There are no official laws on same-sex relationships in Vietnam, nor much in the way of individual harassment. That said, the government is notorious for clamping down on gay venues, and places that are covered in the mass media are 'coinciden-tally' closed down days later. Most gay venues keep a fairly low profile. There is, however, a healthy gay scene in Hanoi and HCMC, evidenced by unabashed cruising around certain lakes in Hanoi and the thriving cafe scene in HCMC. Homosexuality is still far from accepted in the wider community, though the lack of any laws keeps things fairly safe. Major headlines were made in 1997 with Vietnam's first gay marriage, and again in 1998 at the country's first lesbian wedding, in the Mekong Delta. However, displaying peculiar double standards, two weeks later government officials broke up the marriage of the women and the couple signed an agreement promising not to live together again. With the vast number of same-sex travel partners - gay or otherwise - checking into hotels throughout Vietnam, there is little scrutiny over how travelling foreigners are related. However, it would be prudent not to flaunt your sexuality. As with heterosexual couples, passionate public displays of affection are considered a basic no-no. Utopia
(www.utopia-asia.com) features gay travel information and contacts, including detailed sections on the legality of homosexuality in Vietnam and some local gay terminology.