The Pioneering Queer Artists Who Opened Vietnam To Gay Culture

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Vietphái mạnh is one of our favourite places we visited as a gay couple traveling in Asia. From delicious foods lớn fantastic sites like Ha Long Bay, you"re spoilt rotten in terms of a destination rich with culture. Vietphái nam also has a more liberal attitude towards homosexuality, with large thriving LGBTQ communities in Ho Chi Minc City (Saigon) and the capital in Saigon.

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We found Vietphái mạnh khổng lồ be one of the most gay friendly countries in Asia. Locals were extremely friendly và welcoming lớn us, and getting a double bed was never an issue for us anywhere. However, Vietnam giới still has quite a way khổng lồ go with regards lớn its LGBTQ laws, lacking any for anti-discrimination or for recognising LGBTQ couples. We met up with our buddy Quan in Saigon who gave us his perspective of what gay life in Vietphái mạnh is really like for LGBTQ locals in this interview.


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Covered in this interview show
1Hello Quan, please introduce yourself:
2Are you openly gay to lớn your family và friends?
3What"s it like growing up gay in Vietnam?
4Did you ever experience & bullying or homophobia growing up?
5How did you meet other guys growing up?
6What are the best gay bars in Saigon?
7What are the best gay clubs and parties in Saigon?
8Are there any good gay hotels in Saigon you recommend?
9What are the best gay events in Vietnam?
10Where are some of your favourite places lớn visit in Vietnam?
11How bởi vì you recommkết thúc LGBTQ travelers meet local guys?

Hello Quan, please introduce yourself:

Hi Stef and Seby.

My name is Quan Nguyen & I am 34 years old. I am a website designer living và working in Saigon.

Originally, I am from “Can Tho” in the Mekong Delta, but in my teenage years, my family moved to Saigon.

I come from a Catholic family, which surprises most people because everyone assumes all Vietnamese are Buddhist. Catholicism is one of the many influences in Vietphái nam from the French.


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Are you openly gay to lớn your family và friends?

I am fully open khổng lồ all my friends và family. It was a bit hard at first, especially with my mother because homosexuality is still taboo in Vietnamese society. However, after a lot of tears, yelling & discussions they started khổng lồ accept me for who I am.


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Wise words from big sis!

I think for my mother, her main concern is my safety wellbeing & most of all my happiness in life. For example, she now worries about me growing old alone without anyone to care for me in my old age.

With my old sister, I"m very cthất bại. She"s always been accepting of me being gay & we always make jokes about finding husbands. Just the other day she said khổng lồ me:

“you better clean up your room if you wanna find a good husband!!”

What"s it lượt thích growing up gay in Vietnam?

It was quite hard when I was younger because traditional Catholic Vietnamese society was not always so open & supportive sầu towards gays. Baông xã in those days, the Internet as we know it today simply didn"t exist và there were no queer hangouts around. At best, gay guys would seek each other out via well-known cruising spots or by friends of friends.

Today, of course, all that has changed, especially with the advent of Grindr and all the other gay dating apps over the past decade. We even have a growing gay scene in Saigon và Hanoi.

Also, with more visibility of successful LGBTQ persons in the truyền thông helps society see us as something normal and positive rather than as something wrong or an illness. For example, the former USA Ambassador to lớn Vietnam giới, Ted Osius is openly gay & was not shy about posing with his husbvà và baby. Also, there have been various notable LGBTQ Vietnamese movies made, such as “Madam Phung"s Last Journey” in 2014, “Finding Phong” in 2017 và the “My Best Gay Friends” YouTube series in 2013, which went viral:


Did you ever experience & bullying or homophobia growing up?

Not really. At school a little bit because I hated sports & always hung out with the girls, so the guys in the football team would piông xã on me for being a “sissy”. But that was just little boys being little boys và I don"t think they intended or even knew about homosexuality.

Otherwise, I"ve been very lucky lớn avoid any homophobia. I"ll get the odd comment from senior members of my family about not having a girlfriover và not being married, but the older I get, the less frequently they make these remarks.

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Meet Quan: cutie from Saigon!

How did you meet other guys growing up?

I was quite shy and nervous about meeting other guys when I was younger, so it was more down khổng lồ luông xã rather than me seeking it out. My first encounter with another man was with a friover in the school changing rooms. You see, I may have been crap at sports, but I was always a star in the changing rooms!!

But for other gay guys growing up in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, meeting other guys was a challenge. There were no gay hangouts, so at best they would go to lớn well-known cruising spots in the parks or public toilets. Before Grindr, dating sites lượt thích “Gaydar” và “Gayromeo” were very popular in Vietphái nam. Pool parties were also very popular growing up, & more so now. Remember that the temperature in Saigon never drops below around 27 degrees (around 80 Fahrenheit).


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Can you spot our Quan amongst this fabulous bunch?

What are the best gay bars in Saigon?

The staple gay bar of Saigon open every single evening is called The Tipsy Unicorn. They have pool tables, daily happy hours between 4-8pm and a Trivia Night on Wednesday (the perfect night khổng lồ go và hook up with handsome geeks!)

On weekends, the best gay bar in Saigon isThi Bar, which has gay nights on Friday & Saturday evenings. I usually head here first with my friends from around 9pm until midnight & then we go dancing at Republic. But if you come before 9pm, they have some really cheap happy hour đơn hàng.

In terms of restobar-type places, I recommend checking outPapa Cafe. It"s very popular for gay guys to lớn head lớn for food, cocktails và karaoke, usually in that order!



What are the best gay clubs and parties in Saigon?

On weekends after midnight, we head to our main gay club here in Saigon calledRepublic Lounge. I love it – this is the place to lớn be! It"s always busy with a phối of locals & foreign guys. The music is a phối of classic pop hits. They have sầu a drag show on Friday evenings and a large dance party with live sầu music on Saturdays. Once I did my own show here as the very beautiful but super sassy: QUANITA (see phokhổng lồ above)!

I also recommkết thúc checking out the Full Disclosure events. Every few weeks they"ll organise a themed party at different venues, eg Beyonce/Britney nights and Ru Paul"s Drag Race viewing parties. Cheông chồng their Facebook page for up-to-date details of their next event.

And for gay guys looking for a hot time in a saumãng cầu, I recommend the NaDam Spa và the De.soi9 Sauna!


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Cocktails with Quan at Republic gay bar in Saigon

Are there any good gay hotels in Saigon you recommend?

There are several highly rated gay hotels in Saigon, which have been recommended lớn me by gay travelers visiting or are well-known locally as being gay friendly. The Reverie Saigon, is probably the most beautiful hotel in Saigon where gay couples và guys on their honeymoons are likely to lớn stay. It"s right in the centre in District 1 but it"s not cheap (around $260/£175 a night).

A more affordable gay hotel in Saigon to lớn kiểm tra out is the Beautiful Saigon Boutique Hotel, also in District 1. It"s got a really cool swimming pool and welcomes LGBTQ travelers. Prices are around $45/£30 for a double bed with breakfast.


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What are the best gay events in Vietnam?

The Viet Pride in Hanoi is the most famous gay event in Vietnam. It has been taking place every August since 2012 và grows more popular each year. We also have sầu the Hanoi Queer Film Week every August.

In April, we celebrate the Buddhist New Year (Songkran) across Vietphái nam. The best celebrations are in Saigon when the entire LGBTQ community gets involved và gets very wet! The main event lớn look out for is called the “Tnhì Water Festival Songkran” organized by “Saigon Outcast”. Whilst it"s not an exclusively gay sự kiện, it always attracts a large group of both local guys và ex-pat gay guys living/working in the thành phố.


Where are some of your favourite places to lớn visit in Vietnam?

My favourite place in Vietphái mạnh was Halong Bay in the North. It"s chất lượng and our most famous site because of the emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands. It is surrounded by a rainforest area. The best way to see it is on a romantic cruise with your lover.

Here in the South, the Cu Chi tunnels are the most fascinating thing lớn see. You can visit as part of a day trip from Saigon. They khung part of a much larger network of tunnels that go under most of the country, which were used by the Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during the war with the Americans.

I also love Hoi An in the middle of the country. It has some of my favourite dishes (like Cao Lao & Bahn xeo) & is also cthua kém to lớn An Bang beach, which I love visiting.


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The view of Halong Bay during our cruise in the gorgeous region of Northern Vietnam

How bởi you recommkết thúc LGBTQ travelers meet local guys?

Well, I always meet foreign guys in the gay bars and clubs of Saigon which I mix out above. Obviously, apps lượt thích Grindr, Hornet, and Scruff will also help.

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For solo LGBTQ travelers who are shy, I recommover reaching out khổng lồ a reputable LGBTQ tour company like Out Adventures who organize some excellent tours.