First gay pride event in Laos
Although homosexuality is legal in Laos, it is frowned upon by many in the tiny communist country, and event organisers decided against holding a traditional parade.
So, 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people gathered on a US embassy sports field in the capital Vientiane to watch performances relating to their marginalised position in society and sip beers provided by the capital’s handful of gay-friendly bars.
Organised by the US embassy and local activists, the June 25 “Proud to be Us!” event also drew a senior government health representative.
“The aim was to show that we can live and work together in harmony and that LGBT people can contribute enormously to the country given the opportunity,” event organiser, Anan Bouapha, told AFP on Wednesday from Vientiane.
“We have never had an event like this in our history. I feel empowered that this first step can take us forward … and I’m sure many in the LGBT community feel the same way.”
Mike Pryor, the US embassy’s deputy public affairs officer, said the goal was to spread the message “that LGBT people are valued and loved” adding that the issue of gay rights is high on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s agenda.
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