Special seminar on gender diversity in changing Vietnam April 26

Date & time: Friday April 26, 2019 12:00-13:30
Place: Tonantei (Room no. 201), 2nd floor of Inamori Foundation Memorial building, CSEAS

Speaker: Thanyathip Sripana
Title: Gender Diversity in Changing Vietnam

The conventional perception of sex and sexuality embedded in Vietnamese culture, and Asian culture at large, is generally conservative and severe. As such, the presence of LGBT is a taboo in Vietnamese society. The homophobia causes different forms of suppression, LGBT people in Vietnam have been so far unfairly treated. Many of LGBT people eventually stay in the closet. Stigma and discrimination towards LGBT people are prevalent in schools, workplace, and even in the family. The LGBT discrimination includes the access to healthcare, education and employment. Transgender people in particular are usually discriminated and have difficulties in finding a job that meets their expectations and competence, as their gender identity and expression are physically visible. Hence, LGBT people feel insecure. They face different kinds of violence that inflicts some of them to drop out of school and commit suicide.
However, the changes have been occurred since the last few years. The topic of gender diversity recently has been openly discussed in Vietnamese society, such as rights to same-sex wedding. There are movements of improving social acceptance of LGBT people and equality of their rights before law and as the members of society. The year 2012 marked a turning point in the LGBT community in Vietnam with supportive role of government, public and media. In September 2013, same-sex wedding ceremonies were legalized by the decree no. 110/2013/ND-CP. Moreover the Law on Family and Marriage 2014 imposes the elimination of any kind of prohibition and penalties against same sex marriage. The Civil Code (Amended) 2015 legalizes the gender re-assignment and re-issuance of identification for transgender people. On the other hand, the role of media has an account for generating a positive attitude of the public towards LGBT people as their stories received extensive coverage from the press. Mass media makes LGBT people gain wider visibility in the community. Besides, organizations for LGBT people, such as iSEE (Institute for Studies of Society, Economics and Environment) and ICS (Information Connecting and Sharing), are established and operate in many provinces and in many sectors to enhance inclusion and social awareness of LGBT, to claim and protect LGBT rights in Vietnamese society. For example, iSEE has important role in advocating the recognition of same-sex wedding ceremonies, and in organizing gay pride in Vietnam since 2012. Now iSEE, ICS and other organizations for LGBT people have been pushing forward legal status of same-sex marriage, and transgender people rights.

One among other questions was raised : why and how Vietnam, Confucian society and a socialist state, has positively and gradually changed their mind set and policy toward recognition of gender diversity, LGBT lives and their rights?

Speaker: Thanyathip Sripana, a political scientist, has thirty years of work experience as a Researcher and a Lecturer in Vietnamese Studies, as well as on the issues of Mekong and Asean Connectivity and Mobility. She has served as a Researcher and a Lecturer at the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, since April 1988. Over this period, she had also been a Visiting Fellow at various institutions including Laval University in Canada, IrAsia in France, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (API fellow), Institute for Southeast Asian Studies in Hanoi, and CSEAS in Kyoto (2011, present). As a guest lecturer, she has delivered lectures at various institutions both in Thailand and abroad including College for Asean Studies at Guangxi University for Nationalites (China), University of Social Science and Humanities, Vietnam National University (Hanoi, Vietnam). As a specialist on Vietnam, her research work covers Politics; International Relations (particularly between Vietnam and Thailand); Culture; History; and Security (including the issue on Vietnam and South China Sea).
Over the last eight years her research work, articles and papers on Vietnamese Studies are on: Thailand-Vietnam Relationship; Thailand and Vietnamese Patriotic Movement in the Mid-20th Century; Ngô Thị Huệ and her Reminiscence of Thailand in the Mid of 1940’s; Ho Chi Minh in Siam : The Struggle for Vietnamese Independence; China’s Influence on Vietnam through Vietnam-China Border Trade; Gender Diversity in Socialist Viet Nam and Unification of Human Rights in ASEAN, etc.

Contact: Yoko Hayami yhayami[at]