While there is increasing acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community following many campaigns demanding equal rights, only half of LGBT people in the country come out to their families, a new survey has found.
An online survey by ICS Centre – which works for LGBT rights – that polled more than 3,214 members of the LGBT community last year found that, however, 78 per cent reveal their orientation to at least one or two persons and are accepted.
But around 75 per cent said telling their families is “difficult” or “extremely difficult”, and 48 per cent keep their gender sexuality a secret from their families.
While 67 per cent feared they might suffer from a “quite serious” and “serious” stigma in the family if they come out, 22 per cent were afraid of being rejected.
The fear of discrimination in the family meant 12.7 per cent of respondents intend to have a heterosexual marriage.
Asked about the reason for coming out, 66 per cent said they want to live honest lives while 45 per cent said they want to encourage people to understand them better.
Nha Trang native Cao Thi Minh Nguyet, a mother and mother-in-law of straight, transsexual, gay, and bisexual people who discovered their sex and gender orientations early, said she does not discriminate.
But the stigma her children have to suffer in society makes her angry: “When I see my children or other LGBT people facing discrimination, I get a throbbing pain.
“My family has all kinds of genders. We live under the same roof and feel very happy together. There is no problem.”
She said she would like to be in an organisation where she can meet other parents of LGBT people.
At a seminar on Tuesday where it released the survey result, ICS Centre announced that the US NGO PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of LGBT), which has been an informal group in Viet Nam since 2011, has become a registered organisation.
It offers a forum for parents of LGBT people to share their experience and problems and help each other.
Several mothers of LGBT people said it is easy to accept strangers as being gay but is a great challenge when it is their own sons and daughters.
The organisation was formed precisely to help such people.