In my home country Vietnam, I am known as author Ploy Ngoc Bich of four books and an ally of LGBTIQ. In March 2013, I participated in the 5th ILGA Asia conference – The Raising Phoenix – in Bangkok, Thailand, as member of blog team. My blog coverage can be found at http://ilga.org/ilga/en/article/o1w3I0I1Xw and http://ilga.org/ilga/en/article/o2swGqd1Q6. In social media channels, I often help engage my readers with the messages supporting equality and the rights of LGBTIQ.
As I am straight, many people questioned my participation and favor towards LGBTIQ people. They inquired my motives, thoughts and perspectives about homosexuality. Below are the five most common questions I often received.
1- You are straight, so why did you become an ally?
I understand why people asked me this, because most of us don’t concern about the issues that have not directly affected our lives. I became an ally for it is the right thing to do. It was irritating when I witnessed nonsense critism, discrimination and bully that some LGBTIQ had to endure. I didn’t want to compromise with human ignorance. One of the most basic principles of human rights’ practices is ‘do no harms’. A gay person is just an ordinary person who goes to sleep at night and wakes up in the morning, who eats and drinks, who works and contributes to the development of his society and his country. He does no harms to others. However a heterosexual person, for sure, commits serious harms when discriminating LGBTIQ people in schools, at workplaces, in social networks, etc. That heterosexual person is practicing human rights’ violation.
2- Is it true that every girl needs a gay best friend?
This may be true in some cases but is obvisously not a philosophy in life. Remember that not all gays are ‘men in appearance and women in personal interests’. A person is a person. The sexual orientation has little impact on one’s personality, attitude and knowledge, therefore it does’t help much in the process to undertand one particular person. In order to build a relationship with anyone, we have to spend time talking, doing things together and putting ourselves in his or her shoes.
3- How do they, gay couples, love?
How do a couple of one man and one woman love? They talk, they cook, they go shopping, they travel, they fight, they kiss, they hug, they make love, etc. Two persons who love each other do millions of things together. For this question, I think it’s the things we do and feel in love that matters, not the persons who are in love.
4- Did you become an open ally for your own fame, since at the moment in Vietnam activities to support LGBTIQ communities are hot topics in the media?
From the start of my career as creative writer, I have always supported LGBTIQ people, long before it turned out to be a hot topic. Since Noverber 2008, when I published my first short story with gay characters, I have never portrayed them as miserable. My gay characters are strong, happy, ambitious, and funny with positive attitudes. At the moment, in Vietnam, campaigns to support LGBTIQ are coming strong. However in some movies, dramas and novels, LGBTIQ people are still developed as characters who are confused in life because of their sexual orientation, who deserve sympathy for being homosexuals, who are sometimes lame and annoying. In my perspectives, with these messages the media are practicing a form of discrimination. The society should accept and then understand LGBTIQ as human beings, not pity them.
5- Did you feel isolated when being around gays?
Honestly, when I first took part in activities to support LGBTIQ, I did feel a bit isolated when other supporters (mostly gays) looked at me with suspicious eyes. “What is she doing here?” – I guess that was what they thought. However as I have experienced more in life, now I realize that I will always feel isolated among groups in which I don’t know many. All I need to do is to reach for them, initiate conversations and express my sincerity. When I can break the first barrier, I will be able to gain more insights, stories and perspectives from gay people. These help me tremendously to plan my next steps to support the communities.
– LANA –