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Orange County Tet Parade includes LGBT Vietnamese, limits visibility

The long-running dispute between the Tet Parade, Orange County's annual Lunar New Year celebration, and the LGBT Vietnamese group, Viet Rainbow of Orange County, has reached a partial conclusion. The organizers of the parade have voted to allow Viet Rainbow to march and participate in the parade.

While many are celebrating the reversal of a year-old ban on LGBT Asian organizations, the leaders of Viet Rainbow note that a "code of conduct" will restrict visibility for the organization.

"Our fight for full inclusion and equality is not over," said Hieu Nguyen, one of the co-chairs for Viet Rainbow. "The parade organizers have applied a code of conduct that specifically marginalizes LGBTQs. It remains unclear if we will be able to FULLY represent both our Vietnamese American and LGBTQ identities. As it stands, we are not allowed to carry the rainbow flags and our message of love, respect, family, unity, and community."

The newly issued code of conduct, which is posted below, includes the following notes:

  • The Organizing Committee will not accept any form of political campaign which may cause controversy in the community such as banner, uniform, make-up, flag, music, gesture and activities…besides the purpose to preserve, to promote and to improve the tradition of the national humanitarian culture of the Vietnamese Refugees all over the world
  • The Organizing Committee is calling the head of each delegation to control and to request their members participating in the Parade to restrain from any gestures, acts that are rude, ridiculous, inappropriate, provocative against other delegations in the Parade or the spectators along Bolsa Avenue.

Viet Rainbow participated in the Tet Parade when it was being organized by the city of Westminster. However, when the parade was taken over by private organizations in 2012, Viet Rainbow was told, "Being LGBT is not part of the Vietnamese culture," and blocked from last year's parade.

"We celebrated the vote for 'inclusion' and at the same time remain cautious," said Nguyen. "Viet Rainbow of Orange County has always been about full inclusion and full equality. Our hope is that this additional information provide the larger community with a more complete picture. We cannot settle until our rights as human beings are fully realized."

The Tet Parade is scheduled for February 1.