Does Andy Quach really believe that LGBT participation in the Tet Festival threatens the community’s annual celebration?
Shortly after a coalition of Vietnamese LGBT groups, Sá»‘ng Tháºt Radio, Gay Vietnamese Alliance, Ã”-MÃ´i, and the Vietnamese Lesbian and Bisexual Network and Friends announced that they would join in the Tet Festival Parade, there were rumblings from a few members of the Vietnamese Interfaith Council (Há»™i Äá»“ng LiÃªn TÃ´n) notably,Â Rev.Â Nguyen Thanh Van. Some had threatened not to participate if the LGBT community participated in the parade.
Now Westminster Councilman and Tet Festival Chair, Andy Quach, appears to be using the situation to regain some of his lost reputation by issuing the following statement translated from Vietnamese to English:
February 10, 2010
My fellow Vietnamese,
I write this letter to express my sincerest views on the issue of a Gay and Lesbian groupâ€™s participation in the Tet Parade this saturday, February 12, 2010, in Little Saigon.
Their participation is unfortunate.Â However, I cannot prevent it in my position as an elected official of the city as well as the chairman of the Tet Parade.Â Personally, I oppose the participation of this group in a traditionally joyous cultural celebration of the Vietnamese people.
However, as an elected official of the City of Westminster, I cannot discriminate any group or individual for political, religious, sexual orientation, or personal reasons.Â These are limitations in the law that all of us must accept.
It is my hope that our community accepts the limitations of the law and act accordingly, regardless of our own personal views.Â I understand that each of us has the right to express our views and perspectives and I sincerely thank all those who have communicated to me their views in the last few days.
I respectfully ask for your participation in the Tet Parade, so that our community can show our strength, after 35 years in this country.Â I believe that all City personnel will do their best to protect the interests as well as the safety of everyone.
I wish you a joyous and prosperous New Year, as well as many blessings in the Year of the Tiger.
It sounds as if the LGBT community’s participation might spoil the happy celebration, and that he’s made sure that there will be enough security to keep everyone safe.
Following a recent rally at Mile Square Park in which 10,000 people united to protest religious persecutions by the Vietnamese government against all faiths, it is sad to see some of the same religious leaders attempt to use the same tactics, namely banishment, censorship, and retribution that the communist government uses against any perceived opposition.
Many other religious figures outside of the Há»™i Äá»“ng LiÃªn TÃ´n have pledged their support for the LGBT community’s participation in the parade. It will be interesting to see how the Vietnamese community at large reacts to this controversy, and whether Quach’s pledge of additional security will be used to protect the LGBT community and their allied participants, or used to intimidate them.
Among the older generation, homosexuality is often deemed to be a “Western disease” while they ostracize members of their own community and treat them as inferior members of the Vietnamese community. Â The LGBT community’s participation is a way for the LGBT community to become more visible and gain acceptance within the Vietnamese population.
Here is the original press release from the LGBT coalition detailing how you can participate and support their efforts this weekend:
Westminster Táº¿t Festival Parade
Intersection of Bolsa and Magnolia Streets
(Look for our banners: Sá»‘ng Tháºt Radio, Ã”-MÃ´i and Gay Vietnamese Alliance)
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Meeting Time: 9:00 am
Parade Time:9:30 am to 10:30 a.m.
February 6, 2010
Press Release Contact: Thanh Do, (408) 718-7647 or email@example.com
History in the Making: Vietnamese-American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Organizations to March for the First Time in Westminster Táº¿t Festival to Increase Community Awareness about the Needed Love & Support for All and about Marriage Equality
Westminster, CA â€“ Press Release
On Saturday, February 13, 2010, from 9:30 am to 10:30 a.m., the Partnership of Vietnamese Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Organizations will join forces to march in the Annual Westminster Táº¿t Parade. For the first time ever in the history of the Westminster Táº¿t Parade, Vietnamese LGBT people are joining in the parade.
Under the theme of â€œComing out from Northern to Southern California for Marriage Equality and Family Support,â€ The Partnership of Vietnamese Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Organizations is marching in unity to demonstrate that there is a thriving Vietnamese Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community in California. This Partnership wants to promote acceptance and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the mainstream Vietnamese community. This Partnership is composed of Sá»‘ng Tháºt Radio, Gay Vietnamese Alliance, Ã”-MÃ´i, and Vietnamese Lesbian and Bisexual Network and Friends.
Following the banner which reads â€œSupport same-sex marriage: Equality for ALLâ€ will be a same-sex wedding to increase community awareness and to urge the community to support same-sex marriage and marriage equality because lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, like everyone else, deserve the right to have access to marriage, to form a family, and preserve a long lasting relationship.
Sá»‘ng Tháºt Radio is a grass roots organization which has the task of operating a radio program to enhance community awareness of LGBT issues, with the aim to create social change in attitude towards LGBT people and to organize social and political events that advocate, support and empower the Vietnamese-American LGBT community by increasing LGBT visibility and inclusiveness. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of Vietnamese LGBT people by reducing and eliminating the disparities within the Vietnamese-American community in dealing with LGBT issues.
Ã”-MÃ´i is a support group for lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender of Vietnamese descent. Our goal is to provide a support and resource space for queer, female Vietnamese to come out and network.
Gay Vietnamese Alliance provides a safe and supportive environment for gay, bisexual, and transgendered men of Vietnamese descent from all over the world to network, voice issues, promote wellness and foster leadership.
The Vietnamese Lesbian and Bisexual Network and Friends is a support network of women, young and old alike, who provide support to Vietnamese women who are questioning their identities or simply proud to be Lesbians or Bisexual women.
In our ongoing efforts to strengthen partnerships with the mainstream Vietnamese and American society, we welcome open dialogue with the media and other community partners.
To join us in the march, we will be meeting at:
Time: 9:00 am
Place: Intersection of Bolsa and Magnolia Streets in Westminster, California (Look for our banners: Sá»‘ng Tháºt Radio, Ã”-MÃ´i and Gay Vietnamese Alliance)
Thanh Do (Gay Vietnamese Alliance): (408) 718 â€“ 7647
Vuong (Sá»‘ng Tháºt Radio): (408) 476 â€“ 3977
Gina Masequesmay (Ã”-MÃ´i): (818) 677-7219
Quynh Anh (VLBN&F): (408) 623-6513