The Vietnam Health Minister has officially declared that homosexuality is ‘not a disease’ followed by lobbying by LGBTQ+ activist groups. An official announcement was issued to all municipal and provincial health departments after the Minister claimed to have received information about healthcare providers offering ‘cures’ for homosexuality.
The health ministry’s August 3rd dispatch is celebrated for safeguarding its queer Vietnamese in medical settings and as fuel to drive its ongoing petition for legalising same-sex marriage in the country. However, it is unclear how the decision will be enforced, with many LGBTQ people still feeling threatened with conversion therapy and often facing harsh treatment from family and society.
“This announcement that being LGBT is not a disease and condemning the practice of conversion therapy, this is like a dream,” says Vuong, the LGBTI rights program manager at The Institute for Studies of Society, Economy, and Environment (iSEE). “It is something we never thought would have happened, let alone coming from Vietnam’s most trusted source for medical information. I think the impact on queer youth will be very evident.”