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Vietnamese-Americans still struggle with their LGBT children coming out

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The Orange County Register's Immigration Reporter Roxana Kopetman recently published an insightful and heart-wrenching story about the Vietnamese community located in Orange County.

It focuses on the area where the largest population of Vietnamese immigrants live outside of Vietnam itself, and the story gives a window into the struggles that the older generation has in dealing with the younger generation's sexual identities.

There's a poignant story of a mom who is dealing with her son who was born a woman and now identifies as a man.

Kopetman talks to the Parents of Rainbow Children and how Little Saigon in Orange County is dealing with them. Will they continue to keep LGBT Vietnamese from the Tet Parade planned for February?

You have to read this story (CLICK HERE!)

Here is an excerpt:

The clash between American and Vietnamese cultures – and between generations – on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender acceptance is surfacing again in the heart of Orange County's Little Saigon. An organization vying to put on next February's Tet Parade wants to exclude LGBT members from participating.

The issue is making the rounds on local Vietnamese-language radio and TV programs, where even the term “LGBT” is novel. Until just a year ago, the term was not commonly used in local Vietnamese media. And that's not a small victory, say advocates who are working to connect the generations and expand the Vietnamese Diaspora to include the voice of its LGBT members.

“In the Vietnamese gay community, it's a work in progress,” said Tai Phan, 39, of Los Angeles, who came out to his family when he was 20. “Today, it's more open and accepted. The more we educate them, the more they are willing to accept it.”

There is not a cultural homophobia in the Vietnamese history, and their history has included a gay author, an emperor who was presumed gay and a cross-dresser, as well as spiritual shamans who are known as cross-dressers, according to Natalie Newton, a University of California, Irvine junior fellow in the Department of Anthropology.

“For the most part, the homophobia is from Christian tradition,” said Gina Masequesmay, chair of the Asian American Studies department at Cal State Northridge. “The history of Vietnam has been more accepting.”

So, there's not confusion, but there's Confucianism. If you don't play by the rules, you're going against nature.

There's a campaign now going out showing a series of public service announcements featuring Vietnamese American LGBT members who are successful in their fields. With the help of a $1,000 grant, the group also hired a videographer to prepare short clips featuring parents and their gay children.

More about the organization, Viet Rainbow of Orange County: http://www.vietroc.org

See more photos and the full story in the Orange County Register here: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/vietnamese-540617-nguyen-group.html?page=1

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