Viet Rainbow of Orange County (VROC), a community-based organization working to promote positive visibility and equitable treatment of LGBT people, may potentially be blocked a second time from participating in the Tet Parade, Orange County's annual Lunar New Year celebration, scheduled in February.
The Lunar New Year Parade in Westminster, CA has been in existence for over 30 years and was always ran by the city of Westminster. In 2010, a group of Vietnamese-American LGBT organizations came together under the "Partnerships of Viet LGBT organizations" and applied to participate in the parade for the first time in its history. However, various Vietnamese religious groups attempted to exclude LGBT people from the parade. They were unsuccessful as the city was an organizer and could not legally exclude.
That changed in February of 2013. The city could not fund the parade due to budget constraints. Two organizations including the Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California and Vietnamese Marines Association took over and "privatized" the event. Vietnamese-American LGBT people were excluded from participating under the premise that "Being LGBT is not part of the Vietnamese culture."
This year, after being told they would be rejected again, VROC is fighting back. Hieu Nguyen, founder of Viet Rainbow of Orange County reached out to GLAAD and to local media to spread the story and call on supporters to take action. The exclusion has already been covered by the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, and Southern California Public Radio.
VROC is asking for your help. They have launched a Change.org petition, calling for the inclusion of LGBT Vietnamese American organizations in the Tet Parade.
"We find the parade organizer’s apparent discrimination appalling and divisive during a time that celebrates family, community, and unity. This is an act to divide, rather than build community." Nguyen stated. "Vietnamese American LGBTQ people advocate for actions that unite our community to respect everyone and recognize their dignity. We seek full inclusion in the 2014 Tet parade because we are proud to be Vietnamese-American and LGBTQ."
Add your name to those calling for a fully inclusive Tet Parade. Click here to visit the Change.org petition. Share with your friends that LGBT people live within every culture and should not be excluded.
For more info, visit www.vietroc.org.
(Editor's note: This post was originally published by SDGLN content partner GLAAD.)