This past Sunday, March 28th, 33 people showed up to support our LGBT contingent at the San Jose Tet Parade in downtown San Jose. However, several had to leave before the parade started due to prior commitments. In the end, we had 27 people, comprising 12 lesbians and 15 gays taking part in the parade.
Thank you Ly’, Pauline, Kim Loan, Tawnya (Thanh) and Thanh Do for recruiting people to march in the parade with us.
A big thank to our good friends: Jerry from South Bay Queer and Asian, Tawal from API Equality, Chris from , along with Sissourh and Felicia who also came to support and march with us. They were eager to do anything to help make our contingent strong and for the march to go smoothly. They were impressed by our banners with strong slogans such as "Straight, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender: We are Family", "Parents, Love ALL your children", "Support Same-Sex Marriage: Equality for ALL".
The Vietnamese-American LGBT contingent has achieved success in bringing visibility for the Vietnamese-American LGBT community to the Vietnamese-American community at large. This is evident in the cheers that we received along the parade route, and the biggest cheer came when the contingent was introduced in front of the grandstand.
A member of our contingent did notice that we received just one single "boo" during the entire parade. However, he also noticed a glimmer of hope in the eyes of one of the observers along the route as well.
There is also one moving and lasting image in our contingent: A mother brought her young son to come and march with our LGBT contingent. After that, she took several of our group's placards with statements such as "Equality for All - Bình đẳng cho mọi người", "Love and Support your children", etc. Then along with her other younger son walked along the parade route on the sidewalk with the signs to encourage support for our contingent.
At the end of the parade, we all just wanted to exult: TOGETHER, WE MADE IT.
By marching at the San Jose Tet Parade, the LGBT contingent fulfilled some of our goals such as:
1) present a positive image of Vietnamese-American LGBT in the community which will hopefully help parents to accept and support their LGBT children more
2) raise awareness about the presence of Vietnamese-American LGBT in the Vietnamese-American Community and about being a part of the larger Vietnamese family
3) open the (closet) door for Vietnamese-American LGBT in the community
4) give a message of respect for diversity and freedom to the younger generation
5) raise awareness about the need to legalize same-sex marriage, as it is a freedom and a civil right issue
However, the purpose of the march is not so that we can achieve our goals, rather it is also to pave the ways for the next generation of LGBTs so that they can live openly, happily, without fear or discrimination.
We would also like to thank Ms. Lou Johnson who videotaped our contingent in the parade. Thanks to Tom, Ly’, James Chuong, and Chris who took pictures of the parade. And a big thanks to all who came to be a part of the Partnership of Vietnamese LGBT organizations at the San Jose Tet Parade. TOGETHER WE MADE IT.
Duc Le & Vuong Nguyen
(on behalf of the Partnership of Vietnamese LGBT Organizations)