Every year, the Vietnamese-American community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year/Tết with a beautiful parade. But this year, parade organizers have once again voted to exclude a Vietnamese- American group just because we are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning/Queer, and Allies.
Parade organizers in the City of Westminster have voted once again to exclude the Vietnamese-American LGBTQA contingent. As a community-based organization, Viet Rainbow of Orange County (VROC) continues to advance equality and inclusivity of LGBTQA members within both the Vietnamese-American community and the community at large. We take pride in providing programs and community services that further advocate, outreach, and educate on issues that speak to us as members of the Vietnamese community and beyond. We find the parade organizer’s apparent discrimination appalling and divisive during a time that celebrates family and community.
We seek full inclusion in the 2014 Tết parade because we are proud to be Vietnamese-American and LGBTQA. We are calling upon the City of Westminster to uphold its mandate to protect public land for the fair and equal use of all protected classes, including LGBTQs. As we were sidelined last year, we felt hurt because we were isolated from our own community by the organizers. One member of the group shares, “If my 97-year old grandmother can accept me for who I am, why should some parade organizers get to make me feel like I’m not good enough to march?”
We are also asking the city of Westminster to re-consider granting a permit to the Vietnamese-American Federation of Southern California, as they have shown clearly their discriminatory practices. Vietnamese-American LGBTQAs are proud members of the Orange County community, where we own homes, businesses, pay taxes, raise a family and support local businesses.
With a total of 47 votes to exclude people from their own community, the parade organizers assume they speak for the more than 1.5 million Vietnamese-Americans in the United States, as they always state. This is an act to divide, rather than build community.
Vietnamese-American LGBTQA people advocate for actions that unite our community to respect everyone and recognize their dignity. We seek full inclusion in the 2014 Tết parade because we are proud to be Vietnamese-American and LGBTQA.