All packed, and waiting at CCCP Coffee for my ride to the airport, I’m reflecting on being gay in Hanoi, Vietnam…
While here, I was teaching how to write argumentative essays. Every day, when students had to come up with arguments, at least one argued in favor of LGBT rights. This was well before they knew anything about me.
One gay Vietnamese guy who I met broke down crying, scared that he’ll have to come out one day and what that’ll mean. “I think,” he said, “I wish I could choose women. But I think… It’s undeniable.”
A city ten times the size of Seattle has only ONE gay bar, that my first Uber driver refused to take me to.
My students yesterday, after an AWESOME day together, while saying goodbye, told me to come back and, “bring your boyfriend!”
My supervisor at the school just gave me a beautiful pop-up card. It’s hand made. They know all about my being gay, and we’ve talked about what it’s like here. This city, being the capitol, is old and conservative, but they say that Vietnam is the first country in Asia to make gay marriage NOT illegal. That may sound odd, but it’s a big deal.
While looking at the card, they said, “You see? It’s symbolizm. Two bears… Sitting together… Under a tree… So happy… You get it?”
I do get it. In all, it seems like Hanoi is about like most places in the US. Even better than many, actually. I’m spoiled in so many ways, living on the West coast, and so happy I got to experience this.