Duc, Teacher, Ho Chi Minh City

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Duc, in his own words:“I’m Tri Duc, 30 years old, half Vietnamese half Chinese guy. I was born and raised in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. Being a gay was a meaningful thing which was shaped me. Maybe I could look different from others in behavior, thinking, and lifestyle. However, I always tried my best to make contribution, to do everything help my parents and to be a useful child in my family even when I was ten.

I came from a poor family. My parents had nothing after 1975. They had to create everything from zero with no support. My mother was a Vietnamese typical woman: work hard; sacrifice her whole life to her children, to her husband and be a faithful wife. My mom had to manage anything in my family without helping from my dad. He made no care on what happen to his children and let them survive by their own ways. I had father but I had no looking after from him. I lived with two older sisters and one youngest sister. Hard living made us stronger and be more responsible for our family. From a weak, timid, reserved boy; I become an open, strong, confident, independent gay boy today.

When I was a teenager, I could recognize something different in my mind but I couldn’t explain what it was. You know, I had no knowledge about LGBT, had no internet, no means of media at that time in order to find out who I was. I had ever felt fearful of being a gay because I always thought that no one looked like me and it was disgusting if someone identified me. Until now, it becomes history and I feel more comfortable, happier when I know that is natural. The life of Vietnamese gay community is better nowadays. Some Vietnamese people have accepted us and consider us as other men. They don’t laugh at or don’t distance us from. Because they know that one of us can be their relative as well. We have club, bar … are only for gay and some organization fight to protect our benefit but they are small. Same-sex marriage in my country is still illegal.

Some gay men here have come out their nature to their family, friends. Some have sympathy and support, some have nothing and they may face to many difficulties for coming out because of their parents. The rest is not open gay. They look like straight and some of them may get married with girl to hide their real sex. To me, coming out is a tough decision. I can’t show this now because I don’t want to let my mom be sad and don’t want to see her cry. She will be extremely shocked if I tell her the truth. Coming out my matter now is a sin. I can’t. If I have a chance to go to another country where same-sex marriage is legal, I may change my mind because I can keep hiding my mom and find a relevant reason to persuade her.

Eastern society is not a place for gay community having a pleasure life as any gay life in Western one. Nowadays, we have Canada, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, England, Some states of USA, Australia… have accepted LGBT. However, I can’t state a name from Asian countries that accept LGBT as well. I hope one day, Vietnam will turn our dream come true.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (United States Declaration of Independence)

I look forward to a new future with full of hope, full of happiness to LGBT, our gay community.”

2 comments

  1. James Westerhof

    Hello Duc,

    Your story is very much like mine. I am American man, born and raised in USA state of Iowa. Equal marriage is legal in Iowa but was not always so. I am now 63 years old and i feel like life has pass me by. All of my life i was afraid to come out, because so much the same reasons as you, I did not want to hurt my mom or family. I almost thought it was too late for me, but then I meet my best friend and fiancé. He is young Filipino man and he gives me hope of a future yet to come. We are struggling now for me to bring him to USA because same sex marriage is not accepted in Philippines either. You are correct in saying about Asia, and I hope that very soon they will come to realize that Gay is natural..we are BORN this way and all we want in life is happiness and fulfillment like everyone else. I am sincerly hope that you will find your special someone and have the wonderful life that you so richly deserve. Never give up because things are getting better, I am impressed with your quote from our Declaration of Independance. Always take care and be very careful because some who hate us and wish us harm….but i think there will always be some like that.

    Your Friend, James

  2. Daniel Moen

    Hello Duc,
    My name is Daniel and I live in the state of Kentucky, USA. This state is somewhat behind other states in the USA. I personally, have never experienced violence here but have definitely experienced discrimination. I have been living my life as a proud gay man since 1985. It can be traumatizing to experience outright discrimination, but I believe many people perceived as “different” experience discrimination. It will always be this way but the situation has definitely improved. I’ve had a wonderful career as a Registered Nurse with a Masters Degree. I have a committed relationship and we are going to be married in June in another state because we cannot get married in Kentucky, but this legislation is trying to pass a law that Kentucky MUST recognize our legal marriage. I hope this for you one day in your country. Keep a positive attitude as it appears you have. I wish you well and you’d be surprised how many people here, support you there. Peace be with you.
    Daniel Moen

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